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What Does it Take to Be an Automotive Engineer?

Automotive Engineer Definition Develop new or improved designs for vehicle structural members, engines, transmissions, or other vehicle systems, using computer-assisted design technology. Direct building, modification, or testing of vehicle or components.

Automotive Engineer Responsibilities

  • Conduct research studies to develop new concepts in the field of automotive engineering.
  • Build models for algorithm or control feature verification testing.
  • Design vehicles that use lighter materials, such as aluminum, magnesium alloy, or plastic, to improve fuel efficiency.
  • Establish production or quality control standards.
  • Provide technical direction to other engineers or engineering support personnel.
  • Design or analyze automobile systems in areas such as aerodynamics, alternate fuels, ergonomics, hybrid power, brakes, transmissions, steering, calibration, safety, or diagnostics.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as an Automotive Engineer?

These are the skills Automotive Engineers say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Types of Automotive Engineer Jobs

  • Quality Engineer
  • Automotive Power Electronics Engineer
  • Automotive Project Engineer
  • Powertrain Control Systems Engineer
  • Customer Quality Engineer

Is There Job Demand for Automotive Engineers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 288,800 jobs in the United States for Automotive Engineer. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,300 new jobs for Automotive Engineer by 2026. The BLS estimates 21,200 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Automotive Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Automotive Engineer are Nevada, Utah, and North Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Maine, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Automotive Engineer Average Salary

The salary for Automotive Engineers ranges between about $56,270 and $136,550 a year.

Salary Ranges for Automotive Engineers

Automotive Engineers who work in District of Columbia, New Mexico, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Automotive Engineers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $90,030
Alaska $128,690
Arizona $98,390
Arkansas $71,730
California $107,370
Colorado $104,220
Connecticut $94,270
Delaware $106,220
District of Columbia $112,780
Florida $87,770
Georgia $84,870
Hawaii $81,730
Idaho $86,010
Illinois $92,030
Indiana $82,510
Iowa $80,530
Kansas $82,210
Kentucky $84,380
Louisiana $101,810
Maine $93,310
Maryland $109,960
Massachusetts $98,190
Michigan $91,100
Minnesota $87,030
Mississippi $85,570
Missouri $85,450
Montana $77,140
Nebraska $80,650
Nevada $88,950
New Hampshire $97,270
New Jersey $95,680
New Mexico $110,210
New York $91,820
North Carolina $87,470
North Dakota $75,770
Ohio $81,020
Oklahoma $88,190
Oregon $85,890
Pennsylvania $85,740
Rhode Island $94,520
South Carolina $93,730
South Dakota $76,220
Tennessee $87,990
Texas $105,570
Utah $88,150
Vermont $94,580
Virginia $100,540
Washington $96,860
West Virginia $84,070
Wisconsin $79,360
Wyoming $84,200

What Tools & Technology do Automotive Engineers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Automotive Engineers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Git
  • Python
  • Node.js
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Structured query language SQL
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Linux
  • IBM Notes
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • UNIX
  • Computer aided design CAD software

How do I Become an Automotive Engineer?

What education or degrees do I need to become an Automotive Engineer?

Automotive Engineer Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become an Automotive Engineer?

Automotive Engineer Work Experience

Where Automotive Engineers Work

Automotive Engineer Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Automotive Engineers employed by various industries.

Automotive Engineer Industries

References:

Image Credit: Michel Villeneuve via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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