Summary Report for:
17-2141.02 - Automotive Engineers
Develop new or improved designs for vehicle structural members, engines, transmissions, or other vehicle systems, using computer-assisted design technology. Direct building, modification, or testing of vehicle or components.
Sample of reported job titles: Chief Engineer, Dimensional Integration Engineer, Product Engineer, Senior Project Engineer
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Conduct or direct system-level automotive testing.
- Conduct automotive design reviews.
- Develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts.
- Provide technical direction to other engineers or engineering support personnel.
- Perform failure, variation, or root cause analyses.
- Establish production or quality control standards.
- Write, review, or maintain engineering documentation.
- Prepare or present technical or project status reports.
- Design vehicles that use lighter materials, such as aluminum, magnesium alloy, or plastic, to improve fuel efficiency.
- Alter or modify designs to obtain specified functional or operational performance.
- Coordinate production activities with other functional units, such as procurement, maintenance, or quality control.
- Design or analyze automobile systems in areas such as aerodynamics, alternate fuels, ergonomics, hybrid power, brakes, transmissions, steering, calibration, safety, or diagnostics.
- Conduct research studies to develop new concepts in the field of automotive engineering.
- Research or implement green automotive technologies involving alternative fuels, electric or hybrid cars, or lighter or more fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Create design alternatives for vehicle components, such as camless or dual-clutch engines or alternative air-conditioning systems, to increase fuel efficiency.
- Develop calibration methodologies, test methodologies, or tools.
- Read current literature, attend meetings or conferences, or talk with colleagues to stay abreast of new automotive technology or competitive products.
- Calibrate vehicle systems, including control algorithms or other software systems.
- Design control systems or algorithms for purposes such as automotive energy management, emissions management, or increased operational safety or performance.
- Develop or implement operating methods or procedures.
- Develop or integrate control feature requirements.
- Develop specifications for vehicles powered by alternative fuels or alternative power methods.
- Build models for algorithm or control feature verification testing.
- Analytical or scientific software — Minitab ; SoMat eDAQ; The MathWorks MATLAB ; The MathWorks Simulink (see all 19 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Dassault Systemes CATIA; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks ; Think3 ThinkDesign Engineering (see all 12 examples)
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — 1CadCam Unigraphics; CNC Mastercam
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Salesforce
- Data base user interface and query software — International Material Data System IMDS; Structured query language SQL
- Development environment software — C; Microsoft .NET Framework ; Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition VBScript ; Microsoft Visual Studio (see all 7 examples)
- Electronic mail software — IBM Notes
- Enterprise application integration software — Atlassian Bamboo ; Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- File versioning software — Git
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Corel Painter; Microsoft Visio ; Portalgraphics openCanvas (see all 8 examples)
- Industrial control software — Metrologic Group Metrolog XG
- Object or component oriented development software — Apache Groovy ; Oracle Java ; Practical extraction and reporting language PERL ; Swift (see all 8 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Linux ; Magellan Firmware; Microsoft Windows ; UNIX
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Program testing software — Debugging software; JUnit ; TestNG
- Project management software — Atlassian JIRA ; Confluence ; Microsoft Project
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Air compressors
- Anechoic chambers — Climate test chambers
- Bandsaw wheel — Vertical bandsaws
- Chemical absorption gas analyzers — Gas analyzers; Hydrogen analyzers
- Digital cameras
- Dissolved carbon dioxide analyzers — Carbon dioxide analyzers
- Drill press or radial drill — Bench drill presses; Floor drill presses
- Dynamometers — Engine test dynamometers; Transmission dynamometers
- Electro pneumatic transducers — Pressure transducers
- Flow transmitters — Wind tunnels
- Flowmeters — Laminar flow elements
- Force or torque sensors — Torque gauges
- Hoists — Hydraulic hoists
- Horizontal turning center — Computerized numerical control CNC lathes
- Hydraulic press frames — Hydraulic presses
- Lifts — Rotary vehicle lifts
- Metal inert gas welding machine — Metal inert gas MIG welders
- Milling machines — Five-axis machining centers; Three-axis vertical mills
- Ohmmeters — Miliohm meters
- Oxygen gas analyzers — Oxygen analyzers
- Plasma arc welding machine — Plasma cutters
- Power grinders — Bench grinders; Disc finishing machines
- Power saws — Horizontal band saws
- Pressure indicators — Pressure gauges
- Sand blasting machine — Sand blasters
- Spectrometers — Spectroscopes
- Spot welding machine — Welders
- Strain gauges
- Three dimensional printing machine — Three-dimensional prototyping printer
- Tracer or duplicating or contouring lathe — Multitasking lathes
- Track cranes — Overhead cranes
- Winches — Hydraulic winches
- Workshop cranes
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Detailed Work Activities
- Direct design or development activities.
- Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
- Determine design criteria or specifications.
- Estimate operational costs.
- Evaluate technical data to determine effect on designs or plans.
- Provide technical guidance to other personnel.
- Conduct quantitative failure analyses of operational data.
- Determine operational criteria or specifications.
- Maintain operational records or records systems.
- Prepare technical reports for internal use.
- Prepare operational reports.
- Design energy-efficient vehicles or vehicle components.
- Design electromechanical equipment or systems.
- Coordinate activities with suppliers, contractors, clients, or other departments.
- Evaluate characteristics of equipment or systems.
- Research advanced engineering designs or applications.
- Devise research or testing protocols.
- Research design or application of green technologies.
- Update technical knowledge.
- Calibrate scientific or technical equipment.
- Design control systems for mechanical or other equipment.
- Develop technical methods or processes.
- Implement design or process improvements.
- Create models of engineering designs or methods.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 96% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 91% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 64% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 48% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 57% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 35% responded “Very important results.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 70% responded “More than half the time.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 74% responded “Very important.”
- Level of Competition — 35% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Time Pressure — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 57% responded “Some freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 35% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 30% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 43% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 57% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 30% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Consequence of Error — 35% responded “Serious.”
- Physical Proximity — 74% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: RI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Mechanical Engineers.
Employment data for Mechanical Engineers.
Industry data for Mechanical Engineers.
|Median wages (2020)||$43.35 hourly, $90,160 annual|
|Employment (2019)||316,300 employees|
|Projected growth (2019-2029)||Average (3% to 4%)|
|Projected job openings (2019-2029)||19,200|
|Top industries (2019)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2019-2029 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- American Society for Engineering Education
- National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Mechanical engineers
- SAE International
- Society of Women Engineers
- The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- United States Council for Automotive Research