What is robotics?

It’s building, programming, operating and maintaining equipment like this:

More About Robotics

Manufacturing is no longer marked by the grimy, laborious work of the past. Today, much of the manpower has been replaced with machines. With this evolution comes the need for highly skilled workers capable of designing, running, and maintaining these robots.

Robotics combines electrical, mechanical, telecommunications, and computer engineering to design and run robotic manufacturing equipment. A robotics engineer unites these fields to create a simpler, more economical, and reliable manufacturing system.

About the Robotics Degree

Graduates of this program will be fully prepared for work in a manufacturing environment. They will possess the skills necessary to install, maintain and repair electrical and electronic equipment such as networked process controls, computer controlled machinery, three phase motors and variable frequency motor drives, robots, servos, hydraulics, pneumatics, and welding.

The emphasis is on diagnosing and maintaining complex integrated systems. Subject matter covers hydraulics, pneumatics, and welding, as well as networked controllers and interactive web-based asset management. Digital principles are presented in the context of programmable logic devices and microcontrollers.

Classrooms contain all the equipment students will encounter in their careers such as live industrial robots, Fanuc robots, Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC).

Example coursework includes completely installing, programming, and running Motoman, a real robot. Students will wire, run plumbing, and program this machine and its HMI to work with a CNC machine.

Students who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree (advisable if one wishes to work in management) can transfer into Ferris State University’s Electrical/Electronics Engineering Technology program. The Robotics program is at SMC's Niles Campus.

Why Robotics at SMC?

Southwestern Michigan College offers the only program of this kind in the region. Students learn hands-on on real equipment from day one and are fully equipped to design, install, build, and maintain robotic manufacturing equipment. All students apply their skills in an internship and 100% of students are employed after graduation—in fact, we don’t have enough students to fill all the positions employers call about!

Career Options & Salaries

Electro-mechanical Technicians:



Machinery Mechanics and Maintenance Workers:



Mechanical Engineering Technicians:



2016 median pay. Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Curriculum Guide

Associate in Applied Science in Robotics
Certificate in Robotics

Required Gainful Employment disclosure: Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended the Robotics certificate program may be found at

See It Now!

Click here for images of the Harry T. Gast/M-TEC Building, home to all robotics classes, click here for images of the Niles Campus, or click here to schedule a tour.

Local Employers

Pilkington USA in Niles, MI
MAC Engineering in Benton Harbor, MI
Dane Systems in Stevensville, MI