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Automotive engineer

Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£45,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an automotive engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree, before joining a company graduate 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.

Some car manufacturing companies offer undergraduate year in industry placements that give you the chance to develop industry skills and earn a salary.

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


You could do a degree apprenticeship and combine learning in the workplace with doing an engineering degree at an approved university.

Relevant degree apprenticeships include:

  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Product design and development engineer

If you already have a degree in a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) subject, you may be able to do a Level 7 postgraduate engineer apprenticeship.

Applications with automotive engineering companies are competitive and usually open at set times of the year.

Check company websites regularly for application deadline information.

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:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You might work in design, development or production on:

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

You could:

  • turn design ideas into blueprints
  • research the safety, cost and environmental impact of designs
  • move designs into development by building prototypes
  • test products using computer simulations and physical models
  • assess components' strengths, weaknesses, performance and safety
  • plan the production run
  • redesign machine tools, equipment and processes to make new parts
  • monitor costs and production schedules
  • oversee quality control

Working environment

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

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Design and Development Engineering Apprentice

  • Wage: £14,040.00 Annually
  • Location: 10 Dorset Innovation Park, Winfrith Newburgh, Dorchester

Apprentice Development Engineer

  • Wage: £16,000.00 Annually
  • Location: SEVERN BEACH, Bristol

Courses In England

Automotive and Motorsport Engineering Technology - Foundation Degree with Foundation Year

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Blackpool

L1 Automotive

  • Provider: TEIGN SCHOOL
  • Start date: 06 September 2024
  • Location: Newton Abbot

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