The incorporation of unmanned systems is a growing trend in science, technology, mathematics and engineering education programs. With more than 150 universities across the nation offering unmanned and robotics programs, hundreds of students are at the forefront of research and technology. In addition to providing students with groundbreaking technology, these programs are producing graduates with the necessary expertise to seek employment as pilots, observers, sensor operators and operations administrators of unmanned systems.
Analysts at PayScale compared compensation database with 120 college majors and job growth projections through 2020 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and found that when ranked by median starting pay, median mid-career pay growth in salary and wealth of job opportunities, engineering and math majors outpaced the competition. Additionally, in a recent Millennial Branding survey, nearly half of the employers surveyed said the competition for new science, technology, engineering and math talent is steep. That means while other recent grads fight for jobs, these students will likely field multiple offers.
The degree programs are often developed in close liaison with the unmanned systems industry to provide the skills needed for their future employees. Universities offering unmanned systems undergraduate and Bachelor’s degrees include:
• Brigham Young University
• Cochise College
• Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
• Indiana State University
• Kansas State University
• North Carolina University
• Oklahoma State University
• University of California, Santa Cruz
• University of Colorado
• University of North Dakota
• University of Oklahoma
• University of Southampton, UK
• University of West Florida
Students at Natick High School in Massachusetts worked on designing and building a robot which could search underwater beneath ice to help with search and rescue efforts. The robot can be operated safely from shore while it searches through holes in ice for anyone who may have fallen through. Natick High School students developed the design idea using Lego kits and created a computer program to control the robot. The team working on the project is participating in the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam program, an initiative which encourages high school students to invent technological solutions to real-world problems.