Automotive designers:Requirements - Vault (2024)

High School

In high school, take as many art and computer classes as possible in addition to college preparatory classes in English, social studies, algebra, geometry, and science. Classes in mechanical drawing may be helpful, but drafting skills are being replaced by the ability to use computers to create graphics and manipulate objects. Science classes, such as physics and chemistry, are also becoming more important as automotive designers select materials and components for vehicles and need to have a basic understanding of scientific principles. Shop classes, such as machine shop, metalworking, and woodworking, are also useful and provide training in using hand and machine tools. Finally, opportunities to use 3D printers will provide useful insight into the additive manufacturing process.

Postsecondary Training

A bachelor's degree in fine arts, industrial design, or automotive design (often called transportation design) is recommended, although some employers accept diplomas from art schools. Training is offered through art schools, art departments of colleges and universities, and technical colleges. Most bachelor's degree programs require four or five years to complete. Some schools also offer a master's degree, which requires two years of additional study. Often, art schools grant a diploma for three years of study in industrial design. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design has accredited approximately 300 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Only about 35 schools worldwide offer courses or programs in automotive design, according to Car Design News.

School programs vary; some focus on engineering and technical work, while others emphasize art background. Certain basic courses are common to every school: two-dimensional design (color theory, spatial organization) and three-dimensional design (abstract sculpture, art structures). Students also have a great deal of studio practice, learning to make models of clay, plaster, wood, and other easily worked materials. Some schools even use metalworking machinery. Technically oriented schools generally require a course in ASIC engineering. Schools offering degree programs also require courses in English, history, science, and other basic subjects. Such courses as merchandising and business are important for anyone working in a field so closely connected with the consumer. Most schools also offer classes in computer-aided design and computer graphics. One of the most essential skills for success as an automotive designer is the ability to use design software.

An increasing number of designers are also earning a master of business administration to obtain an understanding of how their designs relate to their employer's overall business goals.

Other Education or Training

The Industrial Designers Society of America and SAE International offer continuing education opportunities at conferences and through online training sessions. Contact these organizations for more information.

Automotive designers:Requirements - Vault (2024)


Automotive designers:Requirements - Vault? ›

A bachelor's degree in fine arts, industrial design, or automotive design (often called transportation design) is recommended, although some employers accept diplomas from art schools.

What are the working conditions for automotive designer? ›

Work Environment

They work in comfortable offices when doing preliminary sketches, when using computerized design programs, or when brainstorming with other industry professionals. However, they may shift to different areas for other design processes, such as studios when building or modifying prototypes.

Are automotive designers in demand? ›

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), positions in industrial design, an industry that includes automobile designers, are expected to increase six percent from 2020 to 2030 (, which is considered average growth.

Do car designers make a lot of money? ›

How much does an Automotive Designer make in California? As of May 21, 2024, the average annual pay for an Automotive Designer in California is $61,656 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $29.64 an hour. This is the equivalent of $1,185/week or $5,138/month.

What 3 design elements are used in car design? ›

The task of the design team is usually split into three main aspects: exterior design, interior design, and color and trim design. Graphic design is also an aspect of automotive design; this is generally shared amongst the design team as the lead designer sees fit.

What is required to be a automotive designer? ›

A bachelor's degree in fine arts, industrial design, or automotive design (often called transportation design) is recommended, although some employers accept diplomas from art schools.

What automotive field pays the most? ›

Here are 10 high-paying jobs with annual salaries over $60,000 in the automotive industry:
  1. Automotive service manager. ...
  2. Auto body technician. ...
  3. Auto estimator. ...
  4. Car sales executive. ...
  5. Industrial designer. ...
  6. Truck driver. ...
  7. Mechanical designer. ...
  8. Diesel technician.
Apr 18, 2024

Are automotive degrees worth it? ›

High earning potential.

Automotive technicians who start out at a higher rate have the potential to build on that in the future and can spend more time gaining more advanced skills that might even make them sought-after specialists in a certain area.

What is the future of automotive design? ›

One of the most significant technological advancements driving the future of car design is the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles. Electric cars offer environmental benefits and energy efficiency, while autonomous vehicles promise increased safety and convenience.

How much do Lamborghini designers make? ›

Pay TypeRangeMedian
Base Pay$61K - $114K$81K/yr
Apr 22, 2024

Can a designer be a millionaire? ›

While becoming a millionaire is rare, graphic designers absolutely can prosper through their creativity, business acumen, and drive. With the right priorities and positioning, a fulfilling and financially rewarding career is achievable.

How much do Bugatti designers make? ›

Bugatti Salary in California
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$44,904$22
75th Percentile$39,500$19
25th Percentile$29,600$14

What software do car designers use? ›

SolidWorks. SolidWorks is a 3D CAD software that is widely used for designing and engineering automotive components and systems. It offers a wide range of tools for 3D modeling, analysis, and simulation, and is particularly useful for designing sheet metal parts and assemblies.

How is CAD used in car design? ›

Automobile designers can also use CAD technology to create precise and accurate 3D and 2D models of their designs that they can modify and refine quickly. It makes virtual prototyping possible, where the designers can quickly create and test several design iterations, which speeds up the entire design process.

What are the working conditions of a automotive engineer? ›

Work Environment

Automotive engineers do the majority of their work inside an office. They often are assisted by clerical support staff or research and technical staff members located in offices nearby. Many times, automotive engineers are required to spend at least part of their time on a specific work site.

What are the working conditions for a designer? ›

Graphic designers' schedules vary depending on workload and deadlines. Those who are self-employed may need to adjust their workday to meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends. In addition, they may spend some of their time looking for new projects or competing with other designers for contracts.

What are the working conditions for a set designer? ›

Working environment

You could work in a theatre, in an office, on a film set, in a creative studio, from home or at a film studio. Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors some of the time.

What are the working conditions of a design engineer? ›

Design engineers usually work in an office setting. They perform most of their work on a computer, though they could spend time testing a product in a test facility. Design engineers could be part of a large team of testers, producers and other engineers, or they could work for a small organization.

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