How much money does an automotive engineer earn?

Updated March 23, 2017

Automotive engineers are those who manufacture different types of motor vehicles using the principles of mechanical, safety, electrical, electronic and software engineering. These highly-trained professionals tend to have skills in mechanical aptitude, critical thinking, problem-solving, detail orientation and risk-taking. Students who have a strong interest in automotive technology may be well-suited for a career in automotive engineering.


Automotive engineering consists of working on vehicles like trucks, commercial vehicles, cars, motorcycles and recreational vehicles. These engineers may be involved in the development, modification, design and improvement of operating systems within vehicles. Automotive engineers work on safety systems and they test and interpret data to ensure the vehicle is functioning properly. They may be called on to create visual presentations and conduct research. Many automotive engineers have a specialised area like thermodynamics, aerodynamics or part fabrication.


Prospective automotive engineers must complete at least a bachelor's degree in automotive engineering technology. Some may further specialise in the industry by earning a graduate degree, which can potentially improve their chances for employment. Some courses that automotive engineers take in school include vehicle development, vehicle electronic systems, automotive design and vehicle hydraulic systems. Most of these programs include hands-on training and some students get their hands-on training through internships or part-time jobs. Many places of employment for automotive engineers require certification from an organisation like the Society of Automotive Engineers. There are other organisations that supply certification as well, though they vary depending on location. Automotive engineers must constantly keep their education up to date as technology changes over time.


According to a report compiled by Salary Expert of the average annual salary for automotive engineers in 10 major U.S. cities, Houston, Texas, had the highest salary at £73,659 while Orlando, Florida, had the lowest at £49,950. The median salary for these 10 cities, which also included, Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Charlotte, North Carolina; New York, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; and Indianapolis, Indiana was £57,952. This compares favourably with the median salary for all automotive engineers, which was £50,063, according to O Net.


According to an O Net report compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth In the number of jobs for automotive engineers between 2008 and 2018 is between 3 and 6 per cent, which is slower than the average growth of all professions during that time. The projected job openings are 75,700 during the projected decade. Declines in the automotive industry and a lack of old positions opening up may be partly responsible for the slow growth in the position.

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About the Author

Bryan Cohen has been a writer since 2001 and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double degree in English and dramatic art. His writing has appeared on various online publications including his personal website Build Creative Writing Ideas.