If your career goals include developing the hottest technology in the automotive industry, a career in automotive engineering might be perfect for you. Tennessee has four schools in this field, including one school with an Associate’s degree program and three schools that award Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, and PhDs. The average cost of tuition in Tennessee is $5,800 per semester.
The degree you pursue depends on your career goals! However, the most popular choice to start with is a Bachelor’s degree. An undergraduate degree requires four to five years of work. During your degree, you can plan on completing 120 or more credits in courses like Vehicle Diagnostics, Automotive Electronics, and Alternate Fuel Systems.
Post-graduate degree choices include a Master’s degree and PhD. A Master’s degree only takes two years of additional study; a PhD may take seven years or more, since it requires the completion of a thesis. Courses at the post-graduate level include Fuel Cells & Fuel Processors, Vehicle Dynamics, and Automotive Body Structures.
At every degree level, you may have to spend lots of time in your school’s engineering lab. Your lab time provides you the opportunity to work with engineering materials, engineering techniques, and vehicle components.
Tuition rates vary significantly between schools; rates are generally lowest at public colleges for Tennessee residents. Tuition rates are lowest at Chattanooga State Community College. Residents pay $158 per credit and non-residents pay $593. The University of Tennessee is one of the highest-priced schools in the state; tuition is $6,065 per year for residents and $21,272 per year for non-residents.
You can apply for a variety of in-state and school-specific scholarships to help you pay for school. The American Council of Engineering Companies—Tennessee awards scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000 every year.
Once you are ready to begin your career, look into joining a local professional organization like the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers. You may be able to network with prospective employers and look through exclusive job listings.
To get your PE license, you must pass the Principles & Practice of Engineering exam and apply for licensure through the Tennessee Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners. Licensure may positively affect your salary. O*Net reports that the average salary for a Tennessee automotive engineer is $76,400 per year.