How to Become a Robotics TechnicianSiobhan Treacy | April 27, 2017
Robotics technology is a rapidly growing industry and, as long as advancements continue to be made in the robotics industry, it will not slow down anytime soon. That being said, anyone with a love of robots and technology might as well consider jumping into a career in the growing field. So, how exactly does one get a job in robotics?
First, let’s start with what a robotics technician is. A robotics technician is a person who builds, installs, tests, maintains and repairs robotics. He or she provides expert service through the life of a robot, with the goal of prolonging the robot’s use and supporting increased efficiency. They are an important part of the robotics producing team.
There are a few tasks a person needs to complete before he or she becomes a robotics technician. Most technician jobs require that the candidate has at least an associate’s degree in robot technology or a related major. Some companies will even accept candidates with simply a high school diploma if they have two years or more of experience with robotics. There are also some companies who accept applicants with only a high school degree and then foster their training by placing them in a two-year training program The easiest way to obtain a robotics job is to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree (one in engineering is even better).
What will you learn in school? A robotics technology degree covers a wide range of topics related to robotics. Precise mathematical applications to create and program electronic mechanical and hydraulic systems are an important part of the degree. Most associate programs will also focus on hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, computer assisted design and drafting, computer assisted manufacturing, and microprocessors. Some popular majors among robotics technicians include automation engineering technology, electromechanical instrumentation and maintenance, electromechanical engineering technology, instrumentation technology and robotics technology.
A robotics technician should possess strong math and science skills, as they are the building blocks of robotics. Comprehension of troubleshooting, monitoring, systems analysis, repairing and programming are also skills that robotics technicians use every day. Robotics technicians need to be well-versed in theoretical approaches to robotics engineering, as well as lab methods and standards.
In order to obtain a career as a robotics technician, a person needs more than just knowledge about robots and the technology. Robotics technicians are not only in the business of robots, they are also in the business of customer service. A robotics technician needs superior listening and speaking skills and, most importantly, patience. If they are installing or repairing a robot, chances are that the person calling about a broken robot does not know anything about robotics, and may find the robot very confusing. A robotics technician needs to be patient with these clients and willing to explain robotics in basic terms. Customer satisfaction is important, and technicians should ensure that the customer understands how the robot operates.
Robotics technicians are required to have good eyesight, color vision and hearing. When working on machines, it is important that the technician is able to hear even the quietest changes in noise or physical appearance because it could be part of the overall maintenance issue. Additionally, eyesight is key to the technician’s accuracy when assembling the machine.
Being a robotics technician is often a one-man operation. When he or she isn’t working alone, you’ll find them in teams of two. Common work weeks are the same as any other full-time job at 40 hours per week. However, sometimes a robotics technician will be on call or on staff in a factory in case a robot breaks down. If employed by a company that uses robotics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is likely that they may be on call 24/7 or work overnight shifts. Because of this, there may be some opportunities for overtime compensation, depending on the company.
Some travel may be required if employed by a robotics manufacturer. Often the manufacturer of a robot will employ a technician to send to their customers. If a machine is being installed or breaks down, the manufacturer will release a technician to help install and explain or fix the machine.
This career path requires the employee have to work in noisy environments sometimes. When doing a job in a big factory containing a lot of robots, it can become very noisy. A technician needs to be comfortable working in potentially loud conditions.
For an entry level position as a robotics engineer, average salary starts at $30,000 per year. The longer a robotics technician works and the more education they receive, the more salaries will increase, upwards of $60,000. Salary is highly dependent on where the technician is working. Robotics technicians actually receive the highest compensation in Alaska, at over $86,700 per year. Depending on the company, robotics technicians may be offered benefits like health insurance or 401k matches.
Where To Find a Job
Finding a job as a robotics technician is pretty much the same as finding any other job. If you attended community college or vocational or technical school, the job placement department is going to be a strong asset to take advantage of. It will assist in all aspects of the job application process, from making a resume, finding jobs to apply to, and even practicing interviews.
The internet is also a great place to job hunt. LinkedIn is an easy way for potential employers to view your resume, skills, education, accomplishments and experience. It is also a great asset for someone job hunting. On LinkedIn, a user can search for jobs by searching the job title they are looking for, and then narrow down the search results by experience, location, industry, date post, company and job function. Other beneficial job sites include Indeed, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, and Monster.
Advancement and Outlook
A robotics technician with years of experience can move on to training future technicians. This career path makes way for potential teaching opportunities at a community or vocational schools. He or she may even be hired by a company which is involved with robotics to train their new technicians.
Another option career robotics technicians have is becoming an independent consultant. As an independent consultant, outside companies contact the technician for help with a robot. This is a good choice for someone who has been in the robotics engineering business for a long time but is not yet ready for retirement. As an independent consultant, you have control over their schedule, negotiate pay, and they only report to themselves.
There is not a big change, positive or negative, in the job market outlook for robotics technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is only a 1% change predicted for robotics technicians from 2014 to 2024. This is positive because it means that jobs aren’t going down, but it is also negative because new jobs are not being added. This could be, in part, because of the decline of the industries that robotics are in. For example, a big industry that robotics technicians work in is manufacturing, which is expected to have an employment decline in the next few years. Although there is an impending decline in industries, a robotics technician’s knowledge and backgrounds will result in finding other work easily.