Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

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

Earn SMART Micro-Certifications through VEX Robotics Competition (VRC)


Participants of the VEX Robotics Competition can earn the SMART Robotics Technician 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.
How much is it?
If Administered By: Cost per Micro-Certification
Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy $50
A Certified Coach or Teacher* $12
*To become a Certified Coach or Teacher, you must complete training provided by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy.
There are 4 SMART Robotics Technician 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)

Note regarding VRC and the 5th SMART course: Electrical Foundations
The VEX EDR V5 Robotics System greatly simplifies the electrical requirements of your robot. Aside from occasionally creating a longer length of wire, competition participants never have to worry about external motor controllers, switches, or measuring resistance and voltage. Students as part of the VRC program can earn the Electrical Foundations Micro-Certification by completing the standard course: Electrical Foundations

How do I start earning SMART Robotics Technician 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, you will need to pay the access fee through our Digital Store.

For participants without a Certified Coach or Teacher, their evidence will be evaluated directly by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy. These access fees may be paid here.

After purchasing access, you will be added to a special CS2N group that contains the activity:

View of example Group page upon successful enrollment

Note: You will need to click on the activity to set this as your current (active) course.

Teacher and Coach Certification

For participants with a Certified Coach or Teacher, participant evidence can be evaluated by that Coach or Teacher. Coaches and teachers may be certified by completing the professional development course that aligns with the micro-certification they'd like to offer. 

How can I prepare for them?

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 area. It is recommended that you have someone who can document this on your team to help with obtaining evidence.

Take a preview of the courses to better understand what pieces of evidence to capture.