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Careers in Automotive Engineering Provide Structure and Stability
Monday, October 15, 2012

Can you imagine your life without a car? Things would be very different in ways you probably wouldn't prefer. Everyone relies on cars whether they own one or not. Both drivers and passengers alike benefit from how easy they make it to get around. If it was uncertain before, it's now clearer than ever: the automotive industry isn't going anywhere, it's making a comeback.

What makes the automotive industry as invigorating as it is are the engineers pushing it forward. Cars come out with a new make and model every year made possible largely by the automotive engineering that goes into it.

Automotive engineers are the brains behind the structure and design of the vehicle. They work in areas of vehicle engineering from cars and trucks to motorcycles and dirt bikes. They incorporate elements of mechanical, electronical, software and safety engineering in order to create a safe and innovative product. There's no exaggeration in saying that automotive engineers are car wizards; they know everything there is know about what makes a car operate.

Getting into automotive engineering can come one from two ways: training in automotive engineering technology or obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering. Once you've decided which area you want to pursue, the right school and programs can get you qualified for an automotive engineering position.

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for anyone wanting to obtain an entry-level position as an engineer. However, it is a complex discipline so many employers prefer applicants with a master's degree. If you don't have either, it's no reason to be discouraged.

Automotive engineering is a good field to get into if you have strong science and mathematics skills (geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus). The amount of time spent toward school will typically range from 4-6 years, the six including the additional two years for getting a master's degree. Keep in mind that professions that require more schooling usually pay off  later in salary figures (medical school is a good example of this).

Now, here's the part you've been waiting for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary in 2010 was $78,160. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,550 and the top earned more than $119,480. It takes a dedicated individual to hold this position. Mechanical engineers work full-time jobs, some working hours up to and exceeding 60 per week.

Until now, you might have been under the impression that your mechanic is a magician when it comes to cars. In fact, it's the engineer who is the true guru. The mechanic will know how to fix and maintain car parts, but he won't know the science and technology that goes into developing those components.

Take a moment to think about the kind of car you have now and the kind you want to have. Are they the same? Automotive engineering is an ideal field for career opportunities for car enthusiasts who have an interest what goes into creating a car from concept to production. As an automotive engineer, you can afford the car of your dreams, and build the car of someone else's.