Robotics Engineer: Career Definition, Job Outlook, and Training Requirements

Explore the career requirements for robotics engineers. Get the facts about education requirements, career outlook, salary and job duties to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Computer & Electronics Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Robotics Engineer?

Assembly line machines for automobile construction, police robots for surveillance, and even some surgical tools require the use of some form of robotics. Robots and robotics are now more than just a science fiction plot point. Using computer-aided design and drafting software and other computer tools and programs, robotic engineers design, build, test and implement these automated and autonomous mechanical devices. The table below contains important details about becoming a robotics engineer.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Robotic engineering or related engineering discipline
Key Duties Research, coding, assembly and testing of robotic components
Job Growth (2014-2024) 0% (all electrical and electronics engineers); -2% (all aerospace engineers); 5% (all mechanical engineers)*
Median Salary (2015) $98,270 (all electrical and electronics engineers); $107,830 (all aerospace engineers); $83,590 (all mechanical engineers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Do Robotics Engineers Do?

Robotics engineers design mechanical devices. The work entails researching existing robotic equipment, processes and specifications; assembling components; writing control software or applying existing code; testing and debugging. You must often collaborate with a team of engineers and technicians to solve problems and improve the technology. You may also have duties integrating robots with existing manufacturing equipment and processes, observing their performance, and investigating failures or providing other technical support.

What Education Do I Need?

You're more likely to find robotics programs at the bachelor's level offered as a specialization within a mechanical engineering program, rather than as a stand-alone program. Bachelor's degree programs in electronics engineering also have applications to robotics and sometimes include robotics courses.

Mechanical engineering programs provide you with a base of knowledge in geometry, linear algebra, calculus and physics, before giving more in-depth attention to thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electronics and mechanical design. Those that include a robotics concentration are likely to cover sensors and vision systems, control systems, power systems, assembly methods and system integration. The curriculum is divided between classroom study and lab work.

Some robotics engineers have master's degrees. Graduate programs, such as those in robotics or mechanical engineering with an emphasis in robotics, often put an emphasis on research and the practical applications of robotics theory. Courses cover machine learning, control systems design, motion planning and hybrid systems.

Where Could I Work?

Careers opportunities are available for you in the aerospace, automotive, defense and manufacturing sectors, as well as with research institutes and postsecondary educational institutions. While the career outlook was expected to be slower than average for this career, the salary may vary greatly depending on your education and industry where you work.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electronics engineers were anticipated to see little to no growth from 2014-2024, and electronics engineers earned a median income of $98,270 per year as of 2015 ( The career outlook for all aerospace engineers during the same decade was expected to drop -2%, while in 2015 these workers made a median of $107,830 annually. All mechanical engineers had an annual income of $83,590 in 2015, and job growth was predicted to be about 5% from 2014-2024, reported the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Robotics engineers have a lot of fields they can move to, including the related fields of aerospace, mechanical, electrical and other areas of engineering. All these careers require at least a bachelor's degree and have overlapping backgrounds. Other areas such as biomedical engineering and computer hardware engineering also require bachelor's degrees and may appeal to someone interested in robotics engineering, since these fields also involve designing new technology.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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