Education and Training
Advanced jobs in robotics require advanced degrees. You must start with a bachelor of science (B.S.) in engineering, computers, electronics, or another related field. You would then get a master's, and perhaps even a Ph.D. (doctorate) and postdoctoral work in an area of specialty. It bears repeating that it is never too soon to start studying for a career in high-tech fields. Begin in high school if you can by taking advanced and college preparatory courses in shop and laboratory practices, drafting, general science, computers, electronics, and mathematics. The competition for available spaces in engineering schools is strong, so proof of advanced course work on your transcript is important, as are extracurricular activities and good scores on the SAT or ACT.
There are many factors involved in choosing the college or university you will attend. Some are social, some are financial, and some are academic. But a college's reputation in the academic and corporate worlds is one of the most important considerations. While not every school is as well-known in engineering circles as MIT, Stanford, Texas A&M, Cal Tech, Carnegie Mellon, or the University of Illinois, there are still many well-respected (and more affordable) schools offering excellent programs in engineering, robotics, and computers.
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and similar engineering and technical organizations can also be helpful in identifying colleges and universities offering robotics and engineering programs, The school of your choice should be accredited by both a regional accrediting agency and by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET is recognized as the primary agency for evaluating and accepting engineering and computer programs in American colleges and universities.
You should set your educational goals to the professional level to which you aspire. A B.S. will usually suffice in the commercialized fields of product design, manufacturing, marketing, and technical services. Research and development—the cutting edge of scientific development—usually requires at least an M.S. or Ph.D., as do most university teaching and research positions.
Guides to graduate programs, like Peterson's Graduate Programs in Engineering and Applied Sciences, are helpful in identifying the postgraduate program best for you. You will also be able to gather recommendations from instructors, professors, and professional colleagues and learn from their experiences about the best advanced degree programs available to you.
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