An engineering discipline that is on the rise, robotics engineering is a breeding ground for creativity and innovation from people with a background in mechanical, electrical, or software engineering. Robotics engineers may work in the agricultural, military, medical, and manufacturing industries, among others, conceiving of new uses for robots, designing improved robots for existing systems, or repairing and maintaining industrial robots, says the Princeton Review. Because robots are already widely used (on production lines, for example), hands-on technical jobs can easily be found in the robotics engineering field, but there are also plenty of opportunities to take on more inventive roles in experimental arenas.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends that engineers earn a bachelor's degree at minimum, but those aiming to excel in their careers would be wise to follow up with a two-year master's degree program in their chosen field. Robotics engineers come from a variety of engineering backgrounds, most notably mechanical, electrical, and software engineering, though some schools do offer programs in robotics engineering specifically.
By enrolling in a degree program accredited by ABET, engineers can begin pursuing the Professional Engineer (PE) certification. Along with an accredited degree, passing grades on two professional exams are required: the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which may be taken immediately after graduation, and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PPE) exam, which may be taken after accruing the state's required work experience. To pursue the most creative concept and design jobs in the field, many robotics engineers go all the way to earn a Ph.D., which takes a few additional years.
Robotics engineers should be highly creative, self-motivated individuals with an ability to think outside the box. Their advanced mathematics, applied physical science, and computer science skills should be solid, and they should enjoy collaborating with a team and be adept at communicating with others. Because the programming of new robots is considered by some to be the most challenging aspect of robotics engineering, particular expertise or a degree in software engineering is highly desirable and may expand a robotics engineer's career options considerably.
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