The automotive industry is an exciting and challenging field for car lovers who want to take the plunge into a professional career. Automotive engineers design, develop and improve vehicles or vehicle components. These engineers solve problems with current systems and design new ones that are functional and innovative. If you have a passion for cars and design, consider a career as an automotive engineer.
According to the Occupational Information Network, an automotive engineer designs, develops, builds, tests and modifies models. An automotive engineer designs and analyzes car systems, and designs control systems or algorithms. These workers develop methodologies in calibration, engineering specifications and cost estimates for new car design concepts, and control feature specifications and requirements. An automotive engineer may build models and test them. After testing models, he may modify his designs to obtain a certain level of performance.
According to CBsalary.com, a salary calculator by CareerBuilder.com, automotive engineers earned an average salary of $83,446. Salaries ranged from below $65,378 to above $118,068.
Industry and Outlook
Despite the news of unemployed workers and plant closures, motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry continues to be one of the largest employers in the country, as well as an impacting contributor to our economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost half of all jobs are located in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan with an increasing number of jobs popping up in the South. Engineers form the largest group of professionals in the motor vehicle parts and manufacturing industry. Employment is expected to decline at a rate of 16 percent through 2018 due to productivity improvements and foreign outsourcing of work.
Hours and Environment
According to the BLS, 29 percent of workers in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry work more than 40 hours per week. Overtime occurs during deadlines and peak demand. Engineers can be found in laboratories, offices or industrial plants.
Education and Training
According to the BLS, most employers seek at least a bachelor's degree from entry-level engineering job applicants. An automotive engineer may specialize in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering or industrial engineering. Depending on what an automotive engineer specializes in, he may have received his degree in that specialty. According to the Princeton Review, some schools offer a major specifically in automotive engineering. Some programs also combine mechanical engineering with automotive engineering.
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