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Steps

Part 1

Getting the Necessary Education
  1. Get hands on experience working with cars. Before you get your formal education in automotive design, you should start with a genuine interest and passion in cars. If possible, spend time in an automotive shop or work first hand on a car to see how cars are built and how they function on a mechanical level.
    • You should also develop knowledge of the latest trends in automotive design and be interested in learning more about innovations in automotive design.
    • Strong drawing and sculpting skills are also key to being a successful car designer. Most employers are looking for people who possess creative skills and mechanical knowledge of cars, as they will be well rounded designers.
  2. Complete a bachelor’s degree in an automotive design program. A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum educational requirements for applying for car designer positions. Technical schools that have close relationships to automobile companies and traditional universities with automotive design programs that are well respected in the industry are both good options.
    • Though a degree in an automotive design or automotive engineering program is ideal, you may also qualify to be a car designer if you have a bachelor's degree in industrial design or industrial engineering.
    • Often, employers will recruit graduates from automotive design programs to work at their companies, or to place them in an internship. So its important that you choose the program carefully. Look for automotive design programs that are affordable, well respected, and offer a variety of necessary courses. You can also take beginner classes in automotive or transportation design during your undergraduate degree and then consider applying for a specialized program or degree in automotive design.
    • Most automotive design programs offer courses that focus on designing cars and other road vehicles, as well as the mechanical functions of automobiles and vehicle dynamics. You will also take classes on math, computer-aided drafting (CAD) and model making to prepare you for the industry.
  3. Consider getting a master’s degree if you want a higher salary. Some automotive designers decide to pursue a master’s degree in the likelihood of qualifying for higher pay. You may also consider getting a masters in automotive engineering to expand your knowledge and skill set. However, having a master’s degree is by no means a requirement for applying to automotive designer positions.
    • A master's degree in industrial design or industrial engineering may also be a good option.
  4. Apply for internships at design firms. Rather than dive head first into the competitive automobile design world, apply for internships at design firms in your last year of schooling. An internship will give you the opportunity to work with experienced professionals and to build your portfolio.
    • Keep in mind most internships are unpaid. However, many internships can lead to employment at the company you are interning with, or a leg up on the competition if you apply for a position and the company is familiar with your work.
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