Automotive Engineers
17-2141.02

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: Dimensional Integration Engineer, Engineer, Product Engineer, Project Engineer, Research Engineer

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Conduct or direct system-level automotive testing.
  • Provide technical direction to other engineers or engineering support personnel.
  • Perform failure, variation, or root cause analyses.
  • Calibrate vehicle systems, including control algorithms or other software systems.
  • Design or analyze automobile systems in areas such as aerodynamics, alternate fuels, ergonomics, hybrid power, brakes, transmissions, steering, calibration, safety, or diagnostics.
  • Prepare or present technical or project status reports.
  • Conduct research studies to develop new concepts in the field of automotive engineering.
  • Establish production or quality control standards.
  • Alter or modify designs to obtain specified functional or operational performance.
  • Research or implement green automotive technologies involving alternative fuels, electric or hybrid cars, or lighter or more fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Develop calibration methodologies, test methodologies, or tools.
  • Create design alternatives for vehicle components, such as camless or dual-clutch engines or alternative air-conditioning systems, to increase fuel efficiency.
  • Develop or implement operating methods or procedures.
  • Develop engineering specifications or cost estimates for automotive design concepts.
  • Conduct automotive design reviews.
  • Design vehicles that use lighter materials, such as aluminum, magnesium alloy, or plastic, to improve fuel efficiency.
  • Write, review, or maintain engineering documentation.
  • Develop specifications for vehicles powered by alternative fuels or alternative power methods.
  • Build models for algorithm or control feature verification testing.
  • Coordinate production activities with other functional units, such as procurement, maintenance, or quality control.
  • Design control systems or algorithms for purposes such as automotive energy management, emissions management, or increased operational safety or performance.
  • Develop or integrate control feature requirements.
  • Research computerized automotive applications, such as telemetrics, intelligent transportation systems, artificial intelligence, or automatic control.
  • Read current literature, attend meetings or conferences, or talk with colleagues to stay abreast of new automotive technology or competitive products.
  • Design vehicles for increased recyclability or use of natural, renewable, or recycled materials in vehicle construction.

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Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software — MathWorks Simulink; Minitab; Somat eDAQ; The MathWorks MATLAB Hot technology ; 14 more
  • Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD Hot technology ; Dassault Systemes CATIA; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Hot technology ; Think3 ThinkDesign Engineering; 8 more
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — 1CadCam Unigraphics; CNC Mastercam
  • Customer relationship management CRM software — Salesforce software
  • Data base user interface and query software — International Material Data System IMDS; Structured query language SQL In-Demand Hot technology
  • Development environment software — C Hot technology ; Microsoft .NET Framework Hot technology ; Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition VBScript; Microsoft Visual Studio Hot technology ; 3 more
  • Electronic mail software — IBM Notes
  • Enterprise application integration software — Atlassian Bamboo Hot technology ; Extensible markup language XML Hot technology ; Jenkins CI In-Demand Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software Hot technology
  • File versioning software — Git In-Demand Hot technology
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop Hot technology ; Corel Painter; GNU Image Manipulation Program GIMP; Portalgraphics openCanvas; 3 more
  • Industrial control software — Metrologic Group Metrolog XG
  • Object or component oriented development software — C# Hot technology ; Oracle Java In-Demand Hot technology ; Perl Hot technology ; Swift Hot technology ; 4 more
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software In-Demand Hot technology
  • Operating system software — Linux Hot technology ; Magellan Firmware; Microsoft Windows Hot technology ; UNIX Hot technology
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio Hot technology
  • Program testing software — Debugging software; JUnit Hot technology ; Selenium In-Demand Hot technology ; TestNG
  • Project management software — Atlassian Confluence Hot technology ; Atlassian JIRA In-Demand Hot technology ; Microsoft Project Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Web platform development software — JavaScript In-Demand Hot technology ; JavaScript Object Notation JSON Hot technology ; Node.js Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology
Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.
In demand
In Demand skills are frequently included in employer job postings for this occupation.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Working 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.
  • 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.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • 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.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Communicating with People Outside the 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.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • 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.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Providing 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.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 70% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 71% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 43% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 57% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Contact With Others — 43% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Time Pressure — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Very important.”
  • Level of Competition — 43% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 35% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 50% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 38% responded “Important results.”
  • Letters and Memos — 25% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 38% responded “Important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 29% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Physical Proximity — 62% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 29% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

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, conservation scientists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
  • 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.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Knowledge

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 71%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 14%
     
    responded: Master’s degree requiredmore info
  • 5%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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.
  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • 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).
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • 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.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • 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).
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

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Interests

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.

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Work Values

  • 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.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • 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.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress 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.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • 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.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wage data for Mechanical Engineers.
Employment data for Mechanical Engineers.
Industry data for Mechanical Engineers.
Median wages (2021)
$45.82 hourly, $95,300 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
284,900 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Slower than average (2% to 3%)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
17,900
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

Related Occupations

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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.

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