AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING: Meaning, Job Description, Salary & Schools

Automotive engineering
Image Credit: Clemson University

Automotive engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with vehicle design, construction, and operation. Automotive engineers work in various areas, including engine design and development, vehicle body and chassis design, and suspension and transmission systems. This is a very challenging and rewarding career. It is a field that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. However, this article covers everything you should know, starting from the automotive engineering job description in society, the schools, the necessary degree(s) you need, their average salary, and lots more!

What Is Automotive Engineering?

Automotive engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with the design, manufacture, and operation of automobiles and other motor vehicles. It is a sub-discipline of mechanical engineering, and includes the following sub-disciplines:

  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Vehicle control systems
  • Automotive electronics
  • Internal combustion engines
  • Powertrains

Automotive engineering is a complex field that encompasses all the systems and motor vehicle components. As such, automotive engineers must have a strong understanding of mechanics, electronics, and software engineering.

Automotive Engineering Job Description 

Automotive engineering is broad, so you should know the job description in society, schools, and degree(s) to get a higher salary. The automotive engineering job description includes:

  • First, designing, testing, and developing vehicles or vehicle components from the initial concept through to manufacture and release. 
  • Secondly, automotive engineers work with many teams including other engineers, marketing, design, and production staff. 
  • Thirdly, they may also liaise with suppliers and customers. In other words, automotive engineers work on all aspects of a vehicle, from the engine to the suspension and exterior. They may work on designing new vehicles or improving existing ones.
  • In addition, most of the jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Many employers also require experience working with vehicles. Automotive engineers typically work in offices, but they may also spend time in factories or test laboratories.

Top 10 Automotive Engineering Schools

There are many different ways to become an automotive engineer. Some people choose to study at a four-year university, while others may attend a two-year college or technical school. Many online programs offer engineering courses. Hence, the top 10 schools for automotive engineering are:

#1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

As one of the top automotive engineering schools, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) provides students with a world-class education. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT is home to some of the brightest minds in the world. With a strong focus on research, MIT is at the forefront of many technological advances.

MIT’s automobile engineering program is one of the best in the country. Students have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and conduct research that is at the forefront of the automotive industry. The program is rigorous, but students are well-prepared for careers in the automotive industry. In addition, MIT graduates have gone on to work for some of the biggest names in the business, including Tesla, Ford, and General Motors.

#2. Stanford University

Stanford University has a long history of producing some of the most innovative and ground-breaking engineers in the automotive industry. From the early days of the automobile to the modern day, Stanford has been at the forefront of automobile engineering, producing great graduates in the industry.

Today, Stanford continues to produce some of the best and brightest engineers in the automotive field. The school’s strong academic program and industry partnerships provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the ever-changing automotive landscape. Additionally, top employers or companies desire graduates with a Stanford degree in the automotive industry. This makes the school one of the most desired schools for students who wants to pursue a career in automotive.

#3. University of California—Berkeley

The University of California—Berkeley is also among the top automotive engineering schools in the United States. It offers a bachelor’s degree in automotive as well as a minor in the subject. 

The university has a long history of excellence in automobile engineering, dating back to its founding in 1868. Today and even in society, the university’s automotive engineering program is ranked among the best in the country.

#4. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan’s engineering program is highly respected with successful graduates. The school has a strong reputation for research and its faculty are leaders in their field. 

The University of Michigan has state-of-the-art facilities and its students have access to the latest technology. However, the school is an excellent choice for all.

#5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology is a leading research university with top-ranked programs in engineering, computing, and the sciences. The institute is committed to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology. 

Meanwhile, the Georgia Tech community is unique to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems—and they do it through creativity, collaboration, and a commitment to excellence.

#6. Purdue University—West Lafayette

Purdue University is another top automotive engineering school. It offers students opportunities to learn about and gain experience in the field. Purdue’s curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in the principles of automotive engineering. On the other hand, students participate in hands-on projects and research. 

Purdue also offers many extracurricular activities related to automotive and also allows students to intern and work at some of the largest and most well-known automotive companies.

#7. Northwestern University

Northwestern University is a highly-ranked research university with a long tradition of excellence in engineering. The automotive engineering program at Northwestern is one of the best in the country, and most companies employ their graduates.

In essence, their programs provide students with a strong foundation in engineering principles and hands-on experience with the latest automobile technologies. 

#8. California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology offers students a world-class education. The school’s faculty has some of the most respected researchers in automotive engineering. In addition to its academic excellence, the school is home to state-of-the-art facilities, including a wind tunnel and a Formula SAE racecar.

#9. Weber State University

Weber State University ranks as one of the top automotive engineering schools in the nation. The faculty is experienced and well-respected in the industry, and the curriculum is rigorous and comprehensive. 

Furthermore, the school has strong partnerships with leading automakers and suppliers, providing students with unique opportunities to gain real-world experience. The school’s location in Ogden, Utah, also allows students to take advantage of the nearby mountains and recreation.

#10. Cornell University

Cornell University’s College of Engineering is one of the top engineering schools in the United States. The college offers many engineering programs, including a highly-ranked program in Automotive Engineering. 

Cornell’s automobile engineering program is one of the oldest in the country. It’s also among the best, offering students a strong foundation in engineering principles and practice. 

What Degree Is Best For Automotive Engineering?

The best degree for automotive engineering depends on the specific field within automotive you wish to pursue. However, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is typically the minimum requirement for most entry-level positions in automotive engineering. 

Additionally, many employers prefer to hire candidates with a master’s degree or higher in automotive engineering or a related field. Therefore, if you want to pursue an automotive engineering career, consider a degree in mechanical engineering or a related field.

Is Automotive Engineering The Same As A Mechanic? 

No, automotive engineering is the process of designing, developing, and manufacturing vehicles, while a mechanic is a person who repairs and maintains vehicles. 

Do Automotive Engineers Make A Lot Of Money? 

Automotive engineers make a lot of money. Top companies highly desire them, and their skills are in high demand. 

Automotive Engineering Salary 

The average salary for an Automotive Engineer is $75,844 per year in the United States. The top 10 percent of earners make over $118,490, while the bottom 10 percent make under $44,340.

In other words, automotive engineering salary varies on experience, education, and location. Automotive engineers with more experience or higher education earn more money. And also, engineers working in metropolitan areas receive more than those working in rural areas.

What Is The Highest Paid Automotive Engineer? 

The highest-paid automotive engineer designs and develops the most innovative and efficient vehicles. The person typically has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a strong background in mathematics and physics. 

The annual salary can range from $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the company and the experience level.

What Is An Automotive Engineering Society?

An automotive engineering society is an organization dedicated to automotive engineering advancement. They work to promote the education and professional development of automotive engineers.

They also foster communication between engineers and other professionals in the automotive industry. The society also works to advocate for the automotive engineering profession and to advance the status of automotive engineers in the eyes of the public.

Are Automotive Engineers In Demand? 

Automotive engineering is one of the most in-demand engineering disciplines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for automotive engineers will increase by 9% by 2026.

How Hard Is Automotive Engineering? 

Automotive engineering is a field that requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. This field has many aspects and it can be hard to keep up with all the changes. The good news is that many resources are available to help engineers keep up with the latest developments. However, automotive engineering is still a very challenging field.

Do Automotive Engineers Use A Lot Of Math? 

Automotive engineers use a lot of math in their work. They use mathematical models to design vehicles and to test how they will perform. They also use math to develop new technologies for vehicles, to improve fuel economy, and to reduce emissions.

Can You Be A Good Engineer If You Are Bad At Math? 

Most people assume to be a good engineer, one must be good at math. However, it is not necessarily true. While math is an essential part of engineering, it is not the only skill required. Good engineers should also be good at problem-solving, critical thinking, and a strong understanding of physics principles. So while being good at math can help, it is not the main requirement.

Which Engineering Uses The Least Math?

Environmental engineering uses the least math. Hence, it is regarded as one of the simpler engineering majors you can pursue because it is less complex in math and physics than other engineering disciplines.

Final Thoughts

Automotive engineering is a broad field that covers the engine design to the materials used in the vehicle. It is a very challenging and rewarding career that offers a good salary and the opportunity to work on exciting projects. So, while many automotive engineering schools offer the necessary programs, you should research and choose the best.



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