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Automotive Engineering

Automotive engineering is a combination of mechanical, electrical and materials science. Engineers in this field can design new vehicles or look for ways to improve existing automotive engineering technology. Read on to learn more.

Inside Automotive Engineering

Automotive engineers can design and test brake systems, engines, safety mechanisms, fuel technologies and transmissions. In the field, engineers use design software to devise new vehicle designs or systems, including ThinkDesign Engineering, Gamma Technologies GT-SUITE or Corel Painter Sketch Pad. Some engineers also use grinders, machine tools and workshop presses to fabricate prototype parts for testing. Individuals interested in designing, testing and creating automotive systems may be drawn to this line of work.

Education Information

A 4-year degree is the minimum qualification for most automotive engineering positions. Undergraduate programs in this field are most commonly offered in automotive engineering technology, which can cover the basic principles of engineering along with modern vehicle design requirements in terms of safety, fuel economy and industrial manufacturing.

While master's degree programs in automotive engineering are available, automotive engineering is a complex and interdisciplinary field, so students may also find relevant coursework through graduate programs in electrical engineering, environmental engineering and mechanical engineering. Here are a few articles offering information about degree programs related to this field of study.

Distance Learning Options

Although engineering programs typically include some amount of mandatory hands-on, on-site experience, students can still find programs that offer online components or even blended formats. Other than automotive engineering, students may find relevant coursework in related online engineering programs. Review the articles below for more details.

Career Options

Individuals who have completed automotive engineering technology undergraduate programs may seek positions as engineer assistants. However, most students earn a degree and enter the workforce as engineers. Students who earn a graduate degree can work as automotive engineering supervisors. Many automotive engineering positions are focused on automotive design or testing. Check out the links below for more information about employment opportunities in this field.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for engineers in general was expected to grow 9 percent from 2012-2022, while positions in mechanical engineering were expected to increase at a slower rate of 5 percent (www.bls.gov). Automotive engineers, falling into the broader classification of mechanical engineers, earned a median annual salary of $80,580 in 2012, according to the BLS.

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