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Highest-paying career paths to pursue in the automotive industry

SOURCE: Hector RETAMAL / AFP
If you love cars, there are many lucrative career paths to choose from in the automotive industry.


By Shekinah 

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If you’re a fan of cars, it’s time to turn your passion into a paycheck. The automotive industry is highly versatile and exciting.

Today, there’s demand for clean automotive technologies, which means professionals are needed to meet the needs of a low carbon economy. There’s also more to the field than looking under a hood, replacing spare parts, and getting your hands dirty.

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According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the automotive industry includes industries associated with the production, wholesaling, retailing, and maintenance of motor vehicles, which means a myriad of jobs that require a vast array of skillsets.

And the best part? The industry isn’t hard to get into. While every role requires some form of training, they can easily be mastered with the right education and training – even the high-paying ones. According to Indeed.com, here are the top picks you should consider for a stellar salary in the automotive industry:

Quality testing engineer

These engineers are responsible for testing every component of a vehicle. This ensures they function properly and safely, making it a critical role. They conduct crash testing, test electronics, system integration, wireless connectivity and more. 

Their work includes developing a test case, executing the test, and resolving any quality defects they uncover. For all their hard work, these engineers take home a national average salary of US$90,562 a year.

Automotive designer

Automotive design is a highly specialised field that incorporates various types of engineering, safety, business acumen, and creativity. The industry isn’t limited to automobiles, but covers various forms of wheeled-transportation. 

Designers in this field design the appearance, components, as well as the ergonomics of vehicles. While functional development is completed by a team of engineers, the aesthetics and appearance of the vehicles are left in the hands of automotive designers. The national average salary for auto designers is US$89,471 per year.

Process engineer

These professionals are responsible for designing, implementing, controlling, and optimising industrial processes. Their services are needed in a range of industries that span agricultural, pharmaceutical, mineral processing, and, of course – the automotive industry. 

Process engineers handle the engineering of the plant production process by maintaining automated systems. They also resolve any technical issues that might arise. To qualify, an aspirant will need strong technical expertise in the automated manufacturing process.

They will also need to be creative enough to innovate new production processes. It sounds like a lot of hard work, but it pays off. Process engineers earn a national average salary of US$87,000 a year. 

Automotive engineer

Automotive engineers serve in a team responsible for vehicle design, development, manufacturing, and testing. They are also heavily involved in the marketing, sales, and after-sale processes of any kind of commercial vehicles. Their jobs revolve around using sophisticated technologies to the fullest in a safe way that provides a smooth user experience.

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You could also find them improving previously used technologies to develop new systems that are in line with market trends. The role requires the ability to collaborate with other professionals in the field looking to meet the same goal. The national average salary for this role is US$85,581.

Automotive sales manager

These managers take on the crucial task of leading car dealerships to success. They do this forecasting vehicle demand for their areas, while maintaining inventory, managing the sales team, and training newcomers. Their jobs also often entails initiating and negotiating vehicle trades with other dealerships close by. 

Ultimately, their role focuses on determining the most effective methods that can be used to sell vehicles to boost profits. Do the same and you could earn a salary of US$67,034 a year.