What Are Popular Career Options in Automotive Engineering?

Automotive engineering touches every part of car design and manufacturing. Keep reading to look at three primary fields in automotive engineering: design engineering, development engineering and production engineering. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Automotive Engineering Overview

To get from the drawing board to the factory to your driveway, every step of making a car is reliant on automotive engineering. Automotive engineering is a specialized form of mechanical engineering, and degrees in this field are generally offered at the master's degree level. Undergraduate degrees are offered in automotive engineering technology at the bachelor's and associate's degree levels. According to the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA), automotive engineers fill one of three roles: design, development, and production.

Important Facts About Career Options in Automotive Engineering

Salary $87,370 (Median salary for mechanical engineers, 2018)
Job Outlook Demand is rising at about 9% per year, with 25,300 new jobs expected by 2026 (for all mechanical engineers)
Required Education Bachelor's degree, many have master's degree
Work Environment Most work in office environments; some field testing is done
Similar Occupations Mechanical engineer, materials engineer, engineering management, tool engineer

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Design Engineer

Automotive engineers who design cars are familiar with the intricate details of the hydraulic, electrical, and mechanical systems inside a vehicle. They use their knowledge of fluid dynamics and materials science to develop new cars that perform better while being safer, more efficient and cheaper. Car designers frequently develop specialties in automotive engineering for design improvement, like noise, vibration and handling, safety, or emissions control.

Development Engineer

Research and development engineers are on the cutting edge of automotive engineering, making the cool stuff that's planned for tomorrow's automobiles actually work. For example, according to Design News (www.designnews.com), automotive engineers in America are working on everything from fuel caps that prevent you from putting the wrong kind of gas into your car to keypad locks that are invisible until you touch them. Development engineers help to get interesting concepts into the finished product.

Production Engineer

Once the design of a car has been finalized, production engineers work in car factories to make sure the process of manufacturing goes smoothly. Automotive engineering jobs in production include designing and constructing new factories and machinery, writing specifications for manufacturing equipment and developing automotive engineering safety procedures.

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