How would you like to work with the newest vehicle and vehicle components on the market? Becoming an automotive engineer allows you to do just that. Virginia has two schools that offer automotive engineering degrees. Both schools award Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees. The average cost of tuition is $22,600 per year.
Many students choose to start with a Bachelor's degree, which prepares you for entry-level work as an automotive engineer. Plan on spending about four years in school to earn this 120-credit degree. Your curriculum may include courses like Automotive Systems, Methods for Vehicle Testing, and Alternate Fuel Systems.
If you already have a Bachelor's degree and you're wondering how you can take your career to the next level, consider earning a Master's degree or PhD. A Master's degree is a two-year commitment and a PhD is generally a 5-to-7 year commitment. You may take advanced courses like Fuel Cells & Fuel Processors, Advanced Combustion, and Battery Systems & Control.
During your time as an automotive engineering student, you can expect to become very familiar with your school's engineering lab. You'll work with engineering materials, design and fix vehicle components, and see how engineering techniques work.
Tuition rates in Virginia vary widely based on school choice and financial aid. The more affordable choice in Virginia is the University of Management and Technology, where tuition is $390 per credit. Sweet Briar College is the more expensive option in Virginia—tuition is $33,130 per year.
Virginia has a variety of school-specific and statewide scholarships that can be used to lower your educational costs. At Sweet Briar College, you can apply for the Anne Gary Pannell Merit Scholarship. This scholarship is worth $1,000 to $3,000.
In Virginia, all licensing of Professional Engineers goes through the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Architects. You may receive your PE license after passing the NCEES-administered Principles & Practice of Engineering exam.
Joining local professional organizations is a great way to propel your career forward. Consider joining the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, which allows you to attend networking events and educational seminars.
Salaries in this field vary quite a bit. O*Net reports that the average salary for an automotive engineer in Virginia is $83,900 per year.