Robotics technicians are experts in the installation, maintenance, and repair of robots and related equipment. In their work, they use their extensive knowledge of how robots work, as well as computers, electrical and electronic systems, and sensor and feedback principles. Depending on their employer, their specific duties vary quite considerably. Those who work for manufacturers work alongside engineers, designers, and technologists in the development, design, programming, or installation of robots. Some specialize in the training of robots. Technicians are often responsible for keeping robots in good working condition, troubleshooting problems and maintaining the robots as necessary.
Some robotics technicians are employed in the auto industry, usually because of their skill in electricity, pipe-fitting, machinery, or repair. They are responsible for all of the facility's electro-mechanical equipment, including the maintenance and repair of robots and related robotic equipment. When equipment problems arise, they analyze and fix the problem. They troubleshoot electrical components and systems. They service and repair hydraulic and pneumatic systems and perform welding and machining. Working in well-equipped laboratories or hard hat production areas, they follow strict safety protocols.
Robotics technicians must have a strong mechanical aptitude and spatial ability. They need to have good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. They must be able to read and understand technical diagrams and instructions. They must have an extremely analytical and problem-solving oriented mind.
Entry-level robotics technicians who have an associate degree can earn between $8 and $19 per hour. Those who have substantial experience can earn between $12 and $27 per hour. Most technicians work a full-time schedule that includes varied day shifts, and some work swing and night shifts where they earn overtime pay. Most qualify for full benefits, including paid sick leave, vacation, retirement, and insurance. Some employers offer profit-sharing plans and tuition reimbursement programs.
Training and Education
Most employers of robotics technicians look for applicants who have electronic technician degrees from community colleges or trade schools. These are usually 2-year degree programs. High school students interested in the field should take classes in algebra, geometry, computer science, general science, physics, drafting, electronics, and machine shop. Once hired, technicians who show leadership potential can advance to supervisor or team leader positions. Those who are employed by vendors can advance to technical trainer or sales representative positions. Many employers provide their employees with tuition reimbursement so they can earn higher degrees and advance within the company. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of robotics technicians is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Although the technology promises to become extremely important, growth in this industry has remained slow. The electronics industry offers the most promise of new growth. As the technology continues to advance, new markets will open up and create new opportunities for robotics technicians. Opportunities will be best for those who can build and maintain the highest-quality equipment, as well as those who have the best electronic and computer skills.