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Monday, 06 February 2017 15:17

The Study of Automotive Engineering

Automotive engineering will involve the maintenance, repair and development of ground based vehicles, which will include off highway vehicles, commercial vehicles and passenger cars.  The role and the responsibilities of the auto engineer will actively fall into such routine tasks as designing or revising new products, researching and developing solutions for engineering issues and production and planning for new designs regarding a vehicle’s engine or its components.

The demands for automotive engineering will consist of both commercial and engineering skills as the engineer’s technical solutions will need to be effective and efficient and will contribute to their employer’s profitability. Here we will take a look at a day in the life of the engineer, why this type of position is considered to be complex, due to the constant advancements made in this field and the required education and programs necessary, in order to work as an industry professional.

Common Engineering Tasks

The core responsibilities in this field will consist of such duties as organizing and devising tests developing more advanced testing methods by using innovative and conventional methods, answering a client’s questions and concerns, anticipating component or engine behavior by use of diagnostic software programs, interpreting and analyzing technical data into presentations and reports, meeting regularly with fellow co-workers in order to determine the progress regarding common issues in a facility and negotiating the costs of repair and development in the engineering field.

This position will involve the broad study of the technology and innovation that makes engineering possible. Some of the core components of engineering will include performance and design, engine combustion, drivetrain engineering, vehicle dynamics and engine tribology.

In this day and age, the engineer will study a diverse array of subjects that will include crash safety, aerodynamics, power generation, suspension and power handling. Using advanced software programs, the engineer is able to model an entire vehicle and then simulate the automobile’s behavior. The engineer will swap out entire components, including brakes, engines, transmissions, tires and suspensions so that they may be able to more efficiently assess how different changes will affect the safety and performance of an automobile.  This professional will also use computers in order to control a variety of aspects of the automobile’s design.

Education Requirements for this Position and Career Options

Typically a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree is the minimum education requirements for this position.  A student will have the option of pursuing this degree online or in a classroom setting where they can expect to enroll in core classes such as engine construction, technical drawing, physics, engine theories, course mechanics and suspension systems.

An undergraduate program for this profession will offer the basic principles of automotive technology in addition to the more modern automobile design requirement, fuel economy statistics, safety regulations and industrial manufacturing.  A graduate from this program will be qualified to work in an entry level position, assisting senior engineers. The master’s degree program for engineering will allow a student to find other relevant courses through different types of available graduate programs in environmental engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.  The master’s program will involve the student studying the automotive construction and design from a mathematical and scientific prospective, with courses that blend practical application and experience with classroom instruction.  Common advanced courses for this program will involve such topics as mechanical vibrations, thermal stress analysis, engineering acoustics, nonlinear systems, manufacturing processes, kinematics, reliability and warranty policy development and engineering acoustics.

The Study of Automotive Engineering 

In this type of advanced program a student will also study project management and the different aspects of manufacturing. To qualify for this program the applicant will be required to have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or another type of closely related field. There are some schools that will require an applicant to have completed a program that has been accredited by the ABET, also known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Several of the master’s degree programs will also require the applicant to provide SAT scores and transcripts from previously attended schools, provide letters of recommendation and a resume that can provide background information regarding any job related experience.

While the majority of graduates with this type of formal training will go on to work as engineers in this field, there are several options available in closely related positions such as vehicle designer, automotive design engineer and automotive technician.

Career Growth for this Field

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this position is said to grow by 12% in the next two years, which is considered to be a faster growth rate than most related career fields. The engineers in this field can expect to take home an annual income ranging from 38,000$ to 74,000$, based on their education level, number of years in the field and their place of employment.