Automotive engineer

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Automotive engineers design, develop, test and build cars and motorbikes.

Salary range: £20,000 to £45,000

How to become an automotive engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree, before joining a company training scheme.

Relevant subjects include:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electrical or electronic engineering
  • design engineering
  • manufacturing engineering
  • automotive engineering

A course with a work placement or an internship will be especially useful.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree

More information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through a manufacturing engineer degree apprenticeship or product design and development engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More information

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in the automotive industry through Autocity and Your Future in Automotive.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

You might work on:

  • body, chassis and engine systems
  • electrical and electronic instrumentation and control systems
  • thermodynamics, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics
  • fuel technology and emissions

You could work in:

  • design – turning ideas into blueprints for development and testing, taking into account safety, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact and look
  • development – building and testing prototypes using computer simulations and physical models to assess components’ strengths, weaknesses, performance and safety
  • production – planning the production run, including redesigning machine tools, equipment and processes to make new parts, monitoring costs and production schedules, and overseeing quality control

Working environment

You could work in an office, at a research facility or at a manufacturing plant.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior engineer roles, project team management, general management or consultancy.

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