Is a Mechatronics Degree Worth It?

A mechatronics degree is worth it. It pays well, in the 100k plus annual salary range, and has very few barriers to entry, unlike other engineering degrees.
Yes, a mechatronics degree is definitely worth it. As long as things are being automated and there is a constant demand by industries to develop systems that are more efficient mechatronics engineers will be in demand.
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In this article, we will see if a mechatronics degree is worth it, and to understand that point we will also discuss the difference between a mechatronics certificate vs. a mechatronics degree, and the difference between electrical, mechanical, and mechatronics degrees.

The word Mechatronics is a combination of Mechanical and Electronics because it requires knowledge of both subjects. Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field that designs manufacturing equipment and processes using principles from mechanical engineering, electronics, robotics, and computer systems. 

Every major industry including telecommunications, agriculture, transportation, biotechnology, automobile, national security, and renewable energy relies heavily on mechatronics. With broad cross-industry employment opportunities, a mechatronics degree is clearly worth the investment.

Though it was conceived in the 1960s, the field has gained prominence in the last 20 years as robotics applications have become more widespread across a wider range of industries. Other technological advancements, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), have also contributed to the field's growth.

In terms of earning potential, this degree is up there with electronics and mechanical engineering in the 100k plus annual median wage, but more on that later as we examine this in detail.

To truly see if mechatronics is worth your investment in time and money, we will look at the opportunity cost with similar degrees in engineering. So let’s get started.

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Is a mechatronics degree worth It?

The short answer is yes. How did we come to that conclusion? Our team of experts focused primarily on similar engineering degrees and looked at the earning potential and opportunity cost from various angles.

You will note that we have also included mechatronics technician (a certificate-based career path). This is ideal if you are the kind of person who needs to start earning quickly and then build your career while working with further education. It also suits you if you simply do not want to invest 2 to 4 years in a degree education.

1. Education required

The first opportunity cost we looked at was the time invested in education for each of the career paths.

Level of Education Required to Enter the Field

The one thing that stands out immediately is that mechatronics offers you a career very early on in your education. For example, 32% of current and past employees wanting to be Mechatronics Technicians needed just a high school diploma, optionally some college, and a short certificate course to start their careers.

21% of Mechatronics Engineers, on the other hand, could start their careers with a similar level of education early on, which is still a surprisingly high percentage for an engineering position.

However, compare that to Electrical, Mechanical, or Electronics Engineers where only 3%, 5%, and 0% respectively could break into their respective industries without any degrees. These degrees demand a lot of education before you can enter the job market.

Is mechatronics a good career? For the simple fact that a degree in mechatronics engineering offers so much earning potential so early on we would say this career is definitely worth it, but we feel the picture is incomplete without looking at a few other variables, especially the earning potential of each degree.

2. Earning potential

The best way to judge the long-term potential of a career is to see how much earning potential it has. Some careers can be started with little education but also offer very little earning potential, while others require a bachelor’s degree but offer a huge pay check.

Media wages(2021)

Now we can judge the worth of each course in a more meaningful way.

Mechatronics Technicians, we discovered, could start their careers very early on with just a 10 to 12 week certificate course after high school or some college. This career in return paid off with a median annual salary of $60,360 which is still higher than the national average of $58,260.

Mechatronics Engineers could similarly start off their careers early and have gone on to earn annual median salaries of $100,640. This is the best pay-off versus time spent on education that our research shows.

Electrical Engineers typically needed a bachelor’s degree just to enter the job market. Only 3% of employees could find a job before they earned a bachelor’s degree, meaning you need to invest at least 4 years of university to earn $100,420 annually. Surprisingly, that’s $220 less on average than a degree in Mechatronics would get you.

Mechanical Engineers had the lowest median annual wage of $95,300 of all the degrees (Mechatronics Technicians not included because that is just a certificate course) while it still required you to complete a 4-years bachelor’s program before you could start looking for a job.

Finally, the toughest industry to break into, according to our research, was Electronics Engineering. You could not break into this industry with a certificate course at all. A minimum of an associate's degree was required but the majority had to do a bachelor’s program. In return, however, it did pay off with the highest annual median salary of $104,820.

3. Employment trends

Before we draw a final conclusion we should look at one final variable. The size of the job market and the number of new openings every year.

These two variables show what the employment potential is in the next decade, completing our full picture of each career path. Once we look at this we can draw our final conclusions.

Employment Trends

Candidates with a Mechanical Engineering Degree are projected to have the most job openings at 17,900 jobs annually followed by Electrical Degree holders (12,300 jobs annually) and then Mechatronics degree holders (10,800 jobs annually).

If we account for all three variables- minimum education (time required to start a career), average salaries, and annual job openings, we have a clear winner. It turns out that a Mechatronics degree is definitely worth it.

Not only that, if you are considering a career in mechatronics you can actually start a job as quickly as 10 to 12 weeks with this short certificate course right after high school. We also have a dedicated guide to help you jump-start your career as a Maintenance Technician in Mechatronics.

If later you feel that mechatronics is something you like as a career option, you can then commit to a 2-year associate’s or 4-year bachelor’s degree while continuing your job and earning.

Final thoughts

The future of mechatronics is bright. Mechatronics is an exciting career option if you are the kind of person who is curious and likes to find solutions to problems. It is a branch of engineering that combines multiple disciplines, including mechanical, electronic, computer, and robotics engineering, to create complex devices and systems.

In this article, we looked at a degree in Mechatronics and studied the opportunity cost when compared to other similar engineering degrees. With the least amount of barriers to entry as a career and wages better than or at par with other engineering disciplines such as Electrical, Mechanical, or Electronics Engineering it is clear that a mechatronics degree has a lot of potentials.

We even looked at the industry growth opportunities and when we pulled back and looked at the bigger picture with all these variables, it was clear that a mechatronics degree is definitely worth it!

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