robotics engineering

How to Become a Robotics Technician

Read Time: 4 minutes

Robots are taking over the world, but maybe not in the way some people feared they would. If you take the time to look, you’ll notice robots everywhere in modern life, especially in the industrial world. All of these bots have to come from somewhere, so the world needs robotics technicians.

There are more than 2.4 million industrial robots in the world today, and that doesn’t include commercial robots. If you want a job in the field of robotics, there’s never been a better time to pursue it. What exactly is a robotics technician, and how do you become one?

What Does a Robotics Technician Do?

This job is similar to being a robotics engineer but isn’t quite the same thing. Generally speaking, a robotics engineer takes care of the production phase of robots, helping design and build them. Technicians, on the other hand, focus on keeping these bots in working order, repairing and maintaining them.

Sometimes there’s overlap between the two terms, and you could find yourself handling both sides. Certain job opportunities may list a position as an engineer when it’s closer to being a technician and vice versa. In either case, a lot of your work as an engineer or technician will look similar.

If you love working with robots, this might be the right career for you. You also have a median salary of $56,740 to look forward to, which is almost $20,000 more than the national average. If all of that sounds like something you’d like to do, here’s how to get started.

Getting the Right Education

As far as education goes, this field is relatively similar to a lot of other engineering positions. While many careers require a bachelor’s degree or higher, that’s not necessary here. You should have either an associate’s degree or relevant technical certification, though, as you might’ve expected.

For your degree, you should aim for something that will give you the right skills for the job. You don’t necessarily need a degree in robotics, but you should look into related subjects like engineering. Electromechanical or automation engineering are the most popular degrees among current technicians, and most have associate’s degrees.

When choosing a place to get your education, look for schools with well-established or respected engineering programs. You don’t need to go to a big state university, and may even have better luck looking at technical colleges. The hard skills you develop are more important than how prestigious your school is.

Skills to Acquire

Since you’re going to be working with robots, you should know a couple of things about engineering. You should have a strong grasp of things like circuitry and software programming. A lot of the job involves finding errors in robots and fixing them, so you should also develop strong troubleshooting skills.

Just because you work mostly with robots doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with people. A lot of positions will look for interpersonal skills since you need to offer excellent customer service to clients. It’ll also help to have a thorough understanding of standard lab procedures, as you may work in these environments.

You’ll acquire a lot of these skills through your education, but it doesn’t hurt to look further. If you can get involved in a local robotics group or a similar entry-level job, it will help. You may even be able to find an internship that will give you some needed experience.

Finding a Job in Robotics

Factories installed more than 125,000 robots between 2010 and 2017. That’s a lot of robots, and every single one needs someone to tend to them. It’s safe to say that a robotics technician is a valuable position, and will continue to be.

If you go to a technical college or trade school, they may have a job placement program. That’s an excellent resource to have, so be sure to take advantage of it if it’s available to you. These programs will help you build a strong resume, give you interviewing skills and find jobs for you to apply to.

There are plenty of career websites like Indeed and LinkedIn you can use to search for jobs. At first, you may want to find a similar but more in-demand job to gain some experience. The more experience you get, the more opportunities will open up to you.

Advancing Your Career

After you’ve worked for a few years, you can pursue further certification, which will expand your options. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) is probably the most valuable professional certification. Achieving it will require passing a written test, professional references and some on-the-job training.

With enough experience, you could start a career training other technicians, which could be more lucrative. You could teach future techs at a company or school or even start your own business doing so. Alternatively, you could work as an independent technician, setting your own schedule, and negotiating your pay.

Global robotics spending is somewhere around $135 billion right now and is growing steadily. What that means for you is that jobs in robotics will be around for a while. As you work in this field, you’ll find more opportunities you can pursue, especially with more work experience.

Start Your Career in Robotics Today

There are a lot of excellent careers in robotics available to you today. If you enjoy working with robots, then pursuing a career as a technician or engineer is a great way to go. Given how prevalent robots are in today’s world, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to working in this field.

Like any industry, you’re not guaranteed a job just because there are available positions out there. Still, technical fields like this are generally easier to start a career in, so robotics are an excellent field to pursue. Help forge the path to the future by starting your career as a robotics technician today.

Featured Image Credit: Rob NREC / CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons

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Category: Manufacturing & Engineering

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Article by: Megan Ray Nichols

Megan Ray Nichols is a freelance science writer and science enthusiast. Her favorite subjects include astronomy and the environment. Megan is also a regular contributor to The Naked Scientists, Thomas Insights, and Real Clear Science. When she isn't writing, Megan loves watching movies, hiking, and stargazing.