Engineering students interested in developing new technology may have trouble choosing between robotics and aerospace engineering.
Both fields are highly appealing due to their fascinating content, exciting applications, job opportunities, and high salaries.
So, it can be challenging to choose between robotics and aerospace engineering.
In this guide, you will learn key differences between the two career paths to help make your decision.
Robotics engineering and aerospace engineering are two distinct fields.
Robotics engineers design, build, and maintain robotic systems to facilitate or replace human activities.
Aerospace engineers design, create, oversee, and test aircraft, spacecraft, navigation systems, satellites, and missiles.
That said, these types of machines often include robotics technology.
Since this is the case, you can combine the disciplines, working on robotics within the aerospace domain.
Engineers can create robots to manufacture, assemble, and transport spacecraft parts efficiently.
Typical applications include robots performing design simulations, precise cuts, welding, sealing, inspections, testing, and repairs.
Likewise, engineers can design and build robotic technology for direct implementation in spacecraft.
Examples include mapping, navigation, conditions sensing and response, and exploration devices.
To work on robotics in the aerospace industry, the expertise and experience standards will be different than the robotics industry.
The aerospace domain has strict efficiency, response time, and safety requirements for every part and machine.
Robotics engineering and aerospace engineering are excellent career paths, yet you may find one suits you better than the other.
Career seekers investigate a few specific aspects when assessing if one engineering field may be more worthwhile: education, salary, job outlook, and job positions.
Regarding academic requirements, students typically consider aerospace engineering more rigorous and technical than robotics engineering.
These students must study math, physics, engineering, and computer science.
Aerospace engineers also must understand aerodynamics, flight mechanics, aircraft design, space systems, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics.
Although their education may be more difficult, their average salary is substantially higher.
They earn $122,270 per year, with top salaries reaching $187,085 per year.
In comparison, robotics engineers earn $87,039 per year, up to $131 363 per year.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job opportunities for each field to progress similarly.
Mechanical engineering, the umbrella over robotics engineering, will grow 7% before 2030, while aerospace engineering will grow by 8%.
While job prospects may be similar, students can find robotics jobs in many industries, including the aerospace industry.
As technology evolves, artificial intelligence and robotics will only gain further prominence.
Since this is the case, there may be more room for career advancements or career shifts in robotics.
|Robotics Engineering||Aerospace Engineering|
|Average pay||$87 039 annually||$122,270 annually|
|Ease of finding a job||Easy||Difficult|
|Types of jobs you can qualify for||Robotics Engineer AI and Robotics Engineer |
Controls Engineer Electromechanical Technician
Mechanical Engineer Design
Engineer Software Engineer Hardware Engineer
User Interface or User Experience Designer
|Aerospace Engineer |
AI and Robotics Engineer
Test Engineer Inspector
|Difficulty of the major||Moderate||Difficult|
|Key things to note||Students may wish to obtain a graduate degree or higher in robotics engineering to gain recognition from preferred employers. |
Students can pursue higher degrees, specialize in a specific area of robotics, or obtain experience to earn a higher salary.
|Students must obtain a graduate degree or higher in aerospace engineering or a related degree. |
Companies may expect aerospace engineers to receive a Professional Engineering (PE) liscence once they have enough experience.
Aerospace engineers can specialize in certain domains within the aerospace industry, including artificial intelligence and robotics.
Fortunately, they already have an excellent foundation with aerospace engineering classes such as math and physics.
If they take courses in robotics engineering, they will have the expertise and experience to build a robot.
The classes may include automation, design, control systems, signal processing, programming, digital electronics and microprocessors, and navigation systems.
Robotic engineers seek to replace redundant or repetitive human activities with automated technology.
Additionally, robots can perform these functions more quickly and precisely than human workers.
In the aerospace industry, there are many areas where robots are helpful.
They can manufacture, assemble, inspect, test, and repair elements of machines easily.
However, robots cannot replace a large portion of aerospace engineering.
Since advancements rely on human creativity and innovation, only engineers can perform design and development for the conceivable future.
In the future, artificial intelligence may be able to analyze information and produce creative solutions.
Most aerospace engineers do not need to travel a great deal, as long as they are not in a consulting position.
That said, many aerospace engineers do relocate for their job.
The majority of aerospace engineers find jobs in Washington, California, Texas, Alabama, and Florida.
There may not be as many job opportunities in the midwest and the northeast United States.
For this reason, students in these states may move to pursue their academic careers or to find better jobs.
Learn more: Can Aerospace Engineers Work From Home?
Experts consider robotics as a part of mechanical engineering.
Mechanical engineers focus on designing and developing machines and mechanical equipment.
Since robots are machines, mechanical engineering courses are extremely helpful in understanding the theory behind robotic systems.
Robotics engineering students will also study electrical engineering components, computer science, and mathematics.
For this reason, some schools may list robotics engineering as a multi-disciplinary program rather than a branch of mechanical engineering.
Don’t forget to read our guide on another popular engineering topic: Electrical Engineering vs. Robotics Engineering
Robotics and aerospace engineering are both exciting fields, making it difficult for students to choose between them.
Since these fields can be challenging, pick a domain where you are passionate about the content.
You are more likely to be successful in your academic and career pursuits if you thoroughly enjoy your work.