Fancy yourself a virtuoso of cars, trucks, and all things automotive? Then perhaps you’d like to learn automobile engineering. There’s a misconception that the only job you can get to work with cars is to be a mechanic. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can also be an automobile engineer.
Learning mechanical engineering can give the most accomplished mechanic or software engineer valuable lessons about automotive. In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of automobile engineering.
We begin with what the field entails. Then, we move on to the opportunities within the field before providing resources you can use to become an automobile engineer. Soon, you’ll be on your way to breaking into the field.
What Is Automobile Engineering?
Automobile engineering is a branch of mechanical engineering that harnesses automotive knowledge for the design, development, and production of motor vehicles. This field, also known as automotive engineering, especially attracts car designers who want to stretch the horizons of automobile development with today’s technology.
What Is Automobile Engineering Used For?
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Get exclusive scholarships and prep courses
You could sum automobile engineering up as the science of designing, developing, and creating cars, trucks, and more. However, this description doesn’t give you a full picture of what automotive engineering is all about. So, let’s dive deeper into what makes the field so important.
- Designing cars. Design is the central aspect of automobile engineering. For this, you need to have an excellent grasp of design concepts and measurements, to name a few. These are essential to create cars and their safety systems and to implement quality control methods.
- Testing safety measures. Is a seatbelt enough to ensure the safety of a driver and the passengers? Will the airbag work? Testing the safety of vehicles is paramount, and automobile engineers make it their life’s work to follow principal safety codes in their designs.
- Testing a vehicle’s software. Automotive engineers ensure that a vehicle’s software systems are properly tested and configured. The last thing a driver would want is for their system to glitch or fail. This is especially important with the rise of the self-driving car. Learning artificial intelligence can be very advantageous on your path to learning automotive engineering.
Types of Automobile Engineering
Just as how there are various types of engineering careers, automobile engineering also comes in various shapes and sizes. Below are a few career prospects in the automobile engineering field.
Driving automobiles has certain risks. Whether you’re a veteran driver of 30 years or have just received your license, driving a vehicle can be deadly. This is where safety engineering comes in.
Safety engineering dictates the safety specifications of vehicles. If you have ever seen crash test dummies in action, you’ll know what to expect from this area.
Dedicated automotive engineers plan, test, and troubleshoot safety issues with vehicles. Their tests include recording the integrity of airbags and seat belts. They follow a strict code of government regulations to ensure whoever is behind the wheel is as safe as possible.
Quality Control Engineering
This is arguably one of the most important areas of automobile engineering. Having adequate quality control can mean the difference between a vehicle making it to the road or not.
Remember the 2009 to 2011 Toyota recalls? A lack of quality control resulted in the recall of a considerable number of Toyota’s models for dangerous shortcomings. These included faulty anti-lock brake software and sticking accelerator pedals. Toyota recalled over seven million vehicles over this mistake.
Quality control engineers ensure that catastrophes like this don’t happen after the design process. They need to be vigilant and never cut corners.
Maybe the most rewarding part of designing a car is seeing how well the vehicle performs. Does the steering wheel have an excellent response to the driver? Are the acceleration and brake pedals sensitive enough to ensure safety? Does the vehicle drive well? All of these are the main points of car production.
Driveability tests record engine stalls, start and stop times, and transmission issues. It also tests how well the vehicle operates under different weather conditions.
Learning Automobile Engineering
Does all of this appeal to you? Then you should pursue automotive engineering. But where do you start? There are a few key facts to know before jumping in. Let’s lay the fundamentals to give you a better idea of what you can expect.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Automobile Engineering?
It takes about four years of college education to master this field. Learning automobile engineering isn’t exactly a linear path and you won’t get there overnight. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering to learn the core aspects of the field and study the design process with confidence.
You may have to supplement your car knowledge with other experiences that we’ll get into. Overall, finding great engineering degrees is possible and an excellent idea if you’d like a comprehensive learning path.
How to Learn Automobile Engineering: Step-by-Step
If you’re feeling lost on how you can break into automotive engineering, then fear not. Below is a step-by-step guide.
- Get familiar with cars. Frankly, you won’t be able to succeed in automotive engineering without detailed knowledge of vehicles. While you don’t need to be the most knowledgeable, you will need to know the crucial parts of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more.
- Take automobile engineering courses. What better way to learn the ins and outs of the automotive industry than taking a course taught by industry experts? This is perfect for anyone at any skill level. You can always learn more about how to design, test, and produce cars.
- Earn an undergraduate degree in automotive engineering. A fantastic way of boosting your knowledge is by enrolling in an engineering program at a university. Earning a degree in any related engineering field will prepare you for an automotive engineering career.
- Apprentice with a mechanic. Mechanics do more than just oil changes and state inspections. These are the masters of the automotive industry. Becoming a mechanic will teach you more than how to wield a wrench or replace a set of tires.
- Apply for an engineering job. Landing a job as an automobile engineer shows that you know the intricacies of vehicle safety and quality control. It demonstrates that you have a firm grasp on what makes cars run. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers earn a median salary of $88,430 per year. A degree in automotive engineering only increases your chances of earning this impressive salary.
The Best Automobile Engineering Courses and Training
So, now we have a rough framework of how you can break into the automotive industry. Let’s look at the educational resources at your disposal.
The Best Online Automobile Engineering Courses
Online classes are a fantastic way to learn valuable knowledge in the comfort of your home and often at your pace. While personally working on cars is extremely helpful, some of the best knowledge is already at your fingertips. Let’s look at some standalone engineering courses you can take.
- Provider: Udemy
- Duration: 5 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: $49.99
This course starts with the very basics: how vehicles perform. While this may seem beginner material, you will soon learn every facet of how motor vehicles work in this course.
Separated into eight sections with 110 lectures, this course contains a little over five hours of excellent video material. Don’t be intimidated by the impressive number of videos, as they all run at digestible lengths.
The curriculum covers topics like fundamental physics of acceleration, tractive force, the power to weight ratio, and the effect of drive on acceleration performance.
- Provider: Udemy
- Duration: 2 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Cost: $49.99
This class tests your knowledge of vehicle diagnostics. An important aspect of automobile engineering is building cars to specification, ensuring they follow regulations and perform at their full capacity.
This course aims to reduce human error. It equips you with the methods, knowledge, and skills needed to spot issues with electrical wiring, faults, and more.
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to spot electrical malfunctions and remedy various performance issues. And at only two hours, it’s not a huge time commitment. The popularity of this course is a testament to how well it equips participants in the manufacturing of motor vehicles.
Best Free Automobile Engineering Courses
Want to dip your toe in the waters of automotive engineering without a financial commitment? Below are a few free courses to give this discipline a test drive.
- Provider: edX
- Duration: 7 weeks
- Prerequisites: A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering
Since safety is a central tenet of sound automotive engineering, it makes sense that aspiring professionals should spend time studying safety measures. This free course from Chalmers Institute of Technology examines the importance of road safety in designing motor vehicles.
Students learn essential safety functions, the most cutting-edge safety software, and ways to account for traffic in safety tests. The curriculum also covers rigorous data analysis, statistical measurements, and case studies. You’ll soon have a better understanding of the impact that basic road safety has on the car design process.
- Provider: National Skill Development Corporation
- Duration: 10-15 hours
- Prerequisites: None
Straight from the masters of skill development comes a crash course in all things automotive. Starting with introductory units (“What is an automobile?”), this online course is one of the most useful.
It’s especially helpful if you have never worked in automotive. You will learn all about the importance of electrical systems, software engineering, and technician duties.
While the curriculum focuses more on the mechanic’s role, it is still a great resource to break into the industry.
Automobile Engineering Certifications
Earning a certification in any number of automobile engineering subfields can help you immensely in your job search. These various certificates exhibit your specific knowledge of different subjects.
Electric cars seem finally primed to take off around the world. Companies like Tesla have made great strides in the field. Earning a certificate in the development of these tech wonders could be an extremely worthwhile investment.
In this program, you will receive comprehensive and practical education on how impactful the electric car can be in our society. You’ll learn business practices, policies, and safety measures, all while emphasizing software development and mechanical engineering.
From Boston’s Ben Franklin University comes the Automotive Service Excellence certification. This is a fantastic all-encompassing certification program that teaches you the basics of automotive engineering to the more advanced concepts.
Students learn everything about essential motor vehicle functions like brakes, climate control, acceleration, hybrid functions, and electric-car technology.
This certification program prepares participants immediately for the job market, especially in Massachusetts. Regardless of your location, your resume will shine with this certification.
Best Online Automobile Engineering Resources
If you’re on the fence about pursuing an online class or a degree in automotive engineering, these resources can help inform your decision.
This constantly updated hub of automobile engineering is perfect for both the beginner and veteran. Car Engineer is a one-stop-shop for a massive amount of blog posts, news items, and educational and career resources.
If you’re seeking a comprehensive directory for the automotive industry, Automotive Directory is king. Anything you might need assistance with is a click away.
The site helps you navigate a multitude of car resources. Whether you are looking for forums, local listings, or general knowledge, you’ll find it with this directory.
SolidWize is a great CAD (computer-assisted design) tool and is quite different from the resources listed above. If you know about programs like AutoCAD, you’ll be familiar with SolidWize. The program allows users to create and test automotive designs.
Every car designer should give SolidWize’s software a test drive. The application can help you build the most efficient cars and trucks possible. SolidWize offers training, assignments, quizzes, and comprehensive education in design, development, and motor vehicle production.
Should You Study Automobile Engineering?
Automobile engineering requires a deft hand, a keen eye for detail, and intimate knowledge of the automotive industry. If you check these criteria, then learning more about the field may be perfect for you.
Follow our step-by-step guide. Take some quality automobile engineering courses, and utilize the various resources. You’ll have exactly what you need to start this career.
Automobile Engineering FAQ
A career in automobile engineering is both exciting and rewarding. If you’re a fan of cars, then working with cars can be a personal endeavor. On the other end, transportation is one of the most essential aspects of our daily lives. So, a career in the field also makes a direct contribution to society.
A career in automotive engineering pays well. According to Glassdoor, automotive engineers earn an average base pay of $72,323 per year. The top 10 percent of automotive engineers rake in around $110,000 a year while those at the bottom 10 earn over $50,000.
Not really, if you’re an automotive enthusiast. Seeing your automotive design come to life and then test-driving it is one of the things you can look forward to. However, you will need to be proficient in math, especially algebra, calculus, and statistics, to see these through.
Germany tops the list, being home to premium cars. The country’s automotive industry is globally recognized as the most competitive, bringing in brands like Volkswagen and Porsche. The United Kingdom is also a great option, with the automotive industry being a vital part of its economy.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.