Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use educational affordances of robotics to create CS-STEM opportunities for all learners


September 22, 2020

VEX Robotics Competition Participants can earn a CMRA Certification

By Jesse Flot

Student participants of the VEX Robotics Competition learn an incredible amount by being an active member on a team. Unfortunately, many postsecondary education providers and employers aren’t fully aware of how participation equates to what the students know and can do. To help close this gap, we are proud to offer student participants the opportunity to earn credentials endorsed by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy.


Participants who have gone through at least one competition season can earn the micro-certifications by uploading evidence (e.g. photos, videos, diagrams) of various aspects of their robot and passing knowledge assessments (quizzes). The evidence and quiz focus on the Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes that were identified during the SMART Project.

These micro-certifications are offered in partnership with the REC Foundation. We recently had the opportunity to discuss this program with them on a Tuesday Tech Talk (jump to the 19-minute mark for the relevant portion of the talk):

There are 4 SMART Micro-Certifications available that focus on different foundational competencies. Participants can opt to complete any number of them, based on their roles within their robotics team.

  1. Mechanical Foundations (through VRC)
  2. Fabrication Foundations (through VRC)
  3. Software Foundations (through VRC)
  4. Robotics Integration (through VRC)

How do students begin earning SMART Micro-Certifications?
Participants can begin earning progress in the Micro-Certifications right away by going through the publicly available courses on the CS-STEM Network. To gain access to the final exam within any course, there is an access fee through the CMU Online Store. Learn more on the CMRA site

Is there any preparation work students should complete?
Throughout the season of a robotics competition, team members should save all documentation, take photos and/or videos while working on the robot, and while the robot is on the challenge field.