What’s the difference between FTC and FRC?

There are many similarities between these two programs and students in grades 9-12 can do either program.

There are three significant differences between the programs – team size, costs, and time lines.

  1. FRC teams are usually larger
  2. FTC costs less per team
  3. FRC has a shorter more intense build season

FIRST Tech Challenge

FTC Team 13459 M.A.R.G.
FTC Team 13459 M.A.R.G.

Smaller FIRST Tech Challenge teams, generally 6-8 students in grades 7-12, allow most team members to get hands on experience in almost every aspect of designing, building and programming the robot. FTC does allow grade 7 and 8 students, FRC students must be 9 or higher. Returning teams should expect to spend around $1,000 per season with new teams budgeting $2,500 to compete in British Columbia. The FIRST Tech Challenge season starts with Kick-off in September, scrimmage matches beginning in November, qualifying tournaments in January and the British Columbia Championship in February. Most teams experience three product development life-cycles in a single season. They can test their robot at scrimmages and qualifying tournaments and adjust hardware, software and game strategy.

FIRST Robotics Competition

FRC Team 6390 Hephaestus
FRC Team 6390 Hephaestus

Larger FIRST Robotics Competition teams, 10-30 students in grades 9-12, encourage students to pick one area to specialize in like robot design, programming, business strategy or team branding. Rookie teams should budget for $15,000 and Veteran teams could spend upwards of $50,000 depending on how many events they advance to. FIRST Robotics Competition Kick-off is in early January which starts a six-week intense robot building season leading to an exciting regional Championship event in March.


Every year both programs advance teams to the FIRST Championship in April in Houston Texas.

All FIRST students have the opportunity to learn about STEM, sponsorship, fund raising, public speaking, team building and leadership. FIRST programs have a proven, verifiable impact on participants.

All FIRST students are expected to follow the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition.