Automotive Design Career Info and Education Requirements

Automotive design involves the creation of the visual components of a motor vehicle. Automotive designers work on developing different elements of cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses and other vehicles. Design elements can include exterior and interior style, color, trim and graphics. In some cases, automotive designers assist in the design of automotive safety features.

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Automotive Design Career Information

Automotive designers, sometimes called automotive drafters, work on drawings and layouts of automobile parts. They also prepare models, sketches and prototypes for prospective vehicles. Automotive designers or drafters use manufacturing, engineering principles and mathematical formulas to create safe and functional automobiles that are also aesthetically pleasing. In addition to cosmetic components, automotive designers work with engineers to design engine systems, electronics and emissions. Typical everyday duties can include using computer-aided design programs to test the safety and dependability of designs, interpret technical data, conduct tests on prototypes and address engineering and design problems.

Education Requirements

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available for aspiring automotive designers. The Society for International Automotive Engineers offers additional training and education options, including courses and seminars on topics like automotive fastening and hybrid vehicle technologies.

Associate's Degree

Prospective automotive designers can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Drafting and Design Technology. In an associate's degree program, students learn how to build a variety of 3D prototypes and design layouts by using computer-aided systems. These systems are useful for working on parts, tools, machine and electrical components. Coursework may include computer-aided manufacturing, computer-aided drafting, finite element analysis, geometric dimensioning and solid modeling. Graduates can work as junior mechanical designers, product design assistants or junior mechanical drafters.

Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring automotive designers can earn a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology. This degree program may include courses like automotive engineering technology basics, product development and design and computer-aided design. Students also learn about mechanics of material, automotive dynamics, engine design, industrial safety and performance testing. Prerequisite courses include calculus, physics, programming and chemistry.

Graduates of an automotive technology bachelor's degree program can go on to work for automotive companies in vehicle dynamics control, mechanical design, product design and drafting, operations research and safety engineering. This degree is also useful for those hoping to work in upper-management positions in the automotive parts industry.

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