Robotics Engineer

Career Clusters: STEM, Manufacturing

What you need to know


Robotics engineers plan, build, and maintain robots. These engineers plan how robots will use sensors for detecting things based on light or smell, and they design how these sensors will fit into the designs of the robots.

What is this career like?

Robotics engineers generally work in offices. They may also visit worksites where a problem or piece of equipment needs their personal attention. In most settings, they work with other engineers, engineering technicians, and other professionals as part of a team.

Some of the things a robotics engineer might do:

  • Design robotic systems, such as automatic vehicle control, autonomous vehicles, advanced displays, advanced sensing, robotic platforms, computer vision, or telematics systems
  • Conduct research on robotic technology to create new robotic systems or system capabilities
  • Investigate equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose faulty operation and to recommend remedies
  • Review or approve designs, calculations, or cost estimates
  • Design or program robotics systems for environmental clean-up applications to minimize human exposure to toxic or hazardous materials or to improve the quality or speed of clean-up operations
  • Provide technical support for robotic systems
What skills are needed?
  • Creativity: Robotics engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery. A creative mind is essential for this kind of work.
  • Listening skills: Robotics engineers often work on projects with others. They must listen to and analyze different approaches made by other experts to complete the task at hand.
  • Math skills: Robotics engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
  • Mechanical skills: Mechanical skills allow robotics engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems.
  • Problem-solving skills: Robotics engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific principles and discoveries and use them to design and build useful products.
What is the pay?

The average pay for all mechanical engineers, including robotics engineers, in the United States ranges from $58,410 to $141,060 as of May 2020.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Employment of all mechanical engineers, including robotics engineers, is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Prospects for robotics engineers overall are expected to be good. They will be best for those with training in the latest software tools, particularly for computational design and simulation. Such tools allow engineers and designers to take a project from the conceptual phase directly to a finished product, eliminating the need for prototypes.

What education is required?

Robotics engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in robotics or mechanical engineering. Robotics and mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.