Automotive engineer: job description – TARGETjobs

Automotive engineers work as part of a team responsible for vehicle design, development, manufacture and testing.
What does an automotive engineer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills
Automotive engineers are involved in the design, manufacture, distribution, marketing, sales and after-sales care of cars (including racing cars), motorbikes and other commercial vehicles. Engineers will work on the aesthetics and technical performance of these vehicles and, increasingly, the electronics and software involved with modern vehicles.
Responsibilities of the job typically include:
You can find out more about automotive engineering by reading our automotive industry sector overview , written by an experienced automotive engineer.
While most automotive engineers are employed by vehicle manufacturers, other employers include:
Self-employment via consultancy and contract work is possible for individuals with several years’ relevant experience.
Vacancies are advertised online, by careers services and recruitment agencies, in newspapers and in relevant publications including targetjobs Engineering , Automotive Engineer , The Engineer , Engineering and Professional Engineering and their online equivalents. Applications should be made early in the academic year , especially those to larger employers. There are also lots of opportunities with smaller engineering employers. You can find help on finding and applying for jobs with smaller engineering companies here.
There are routes into the profession for both graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need a degree in a relevant subject such as automotive, mechanical or electrical engineering, production and manufacturing engineering, engineering design or physics. Some employers will ask for a 2.1 degree but others will accept candidates with a 2.2 degree. Take a look at our list of engineering employers that accept 2.2 degrees .
A postgraduate qualification may be necessary for some posts. A list of accredited courses is available on the Engineering Council’s website and you can read our article on engineering postgraduate options to explore your options.
Entry into the profession is also possible through an apprenticeship. Vehicle technician apprenticeships are available at intermediate or advanced level, and you can choose to specialise in light or heavy vehicles. Some advanced and higher apprenticeships in automotive engineering are available at larger automotive companies. To find out more about getting into engineering via a school leaver route, visit the engineering section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Achieving chartered (CEng) status with the Engineering Council can help to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your field. To become chartered, you will need an accredited bachelors degree in engineering or technology, plus an appropriate masters degree (MEng) or doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).You will also be eligible with an integrated MSc. To find out more, take a look at our guide to chartership.
To become an automotive engineer, you will need:
Read our article on the skills engineering employers look for for more information and then find out how you can prove you possess these competencies at engineering assessment centres .
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