Engine Cooling Engineer Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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Get the truth about an engine cooling engineer's salary, training requirements and career prospects. Read the job description and see the pros and cons of becoming an engine cooling engineer.
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What Are the Pros and Cons of Working as an Engine Cooling Engineer?

Engine cooling engineers are professionals who design, test and maintain engines and their cooling systems. The following are some of the pros and cons of working in this field.

Pros of Becoming an Engine Cooling Engineer
Good wages (a median annual salary of about $83,060 per year for mechanical engineers)*
Transportation equipment and vehicle engineering is expected to drive job growth for mechanical engineers*
Only a bachelor's degree is required for most jobs*
Variety of job tasks (designing, testing, building and developing technology)*

Cons of Becoming an Engine Cooling Engineer
Job can be stressful**
Slower-than-average job growth (five percent from 2014-2024)*
Sometimes requires long hours (one-third of mechanical engineers worked over 40 hours a week)*
Some employers prefer a graduate degree*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **U.S. Department of Labor's O*Net Online

Essential Career Info

Engine cooling engineers can come from a variety of engineering backgrounds, meaning they can be classified as mechanical, electrical, industrial or aerospace engineers. However, most employers are looking for mechanical engineers to fill such a position.

As a mechanical engineer working on engines, it could be your responsibility to design, test or evaluate an engine's performance. You might also be in charge of collecting and analyzing data to see if an engine is running efficiently. A lot of engineers work on teams with other engineering and technical professionals. You could be responsible for reading and interpreting schematics and technical drawings, installing engines and engine components, making modifications to existing designs, investigating the causes of system failures, monitoring engine manufacturing processes, and overseeing production operations.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechanical engineers earned a median annual salary of about $83,060 as of May 2014. It was reported that year that the top ten percent of mechanical engineers earned upwards of about $126,430 annually, while the lowest ten percent earned about $53,210 or less. From 2014-2024, the BLS expected mechanical engineers to see a slower-than-average job growth of five percent. This modest growth will be driven in part by transportation and vehicle design. Individuals who stay abreast of the most modern software and design technology are expected to see the best job prospects.

Requirements

Education

A bachelor's degree in an engineering field that is relevant to engine cooling engineering, such as mechanical, industrial or electrical engineering, is typically sufficient to obtain employment. Bachelor's degree programs take about four years to complete, although some schools offer professional 5-year programs that combine undergraduate and graduate study, resulting in a master's degree. In a bachelor's degree program in mechanical engineering, you will typically complete courses in subjects like mathematics, physics, materials processing, heat transfer, acoustics and system controls.

Skills

Engineers must have excellent analytical skills and be comfortable working out complex mathematical problems. Mechanical engineers usually have high visual-spatial intelligence and are adept and finding creative solutions to practical problems. Engineers are usually expected to have good communication skills as well, since they often work on diverse, interdisciplinary teams.

Job Postings

Typically, employers of these engineers require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree in engineering and a few years of experience in the field. Familiarity with computer-aided design (CAD) is also sometimes expected. Here are some job postings that were available in April and May of 2012:

  • A company in Michigan was looking for a project engineer to work in engine design. The qualified applicant would have a relevant bachelor's degree, power train experience and five years of work experience in an area of expertise.
  • In Michigan, the technical center of a major car manufacturer was looking for an engineer who would develop and calibrate engine management systems. You would need to have either a bachelor's or master's degree in mechanical or electrical engineering and a valid driver's license.
  • An automotive parts manufacturer in Detroit, MI, was hiring an engine cooling project engineer to help design and release climate control systems, engine cooling modules and exhaust systems. At least a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with three years of experience was required, but the employer preferred a candidate with a master's degree in engineering or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) supported by a bachelor's degree in engineering.
  • A heavy engineering company in Illinois was hiring an engine installation and cooling system engineer to analyze, test and design air intake, exhaust, emissions and cooling systems. At least two years of experience was required for this position, as well as a bachelor's degree in mechanical, agricultural or aerospace engineering. Experience with computer design tools was also required.

How to Beat the Competition

To stand out as an engine cooling engineer, you could consider earning a master's degree in a subject like mechanical, electrical or industrial engineering, which could be preferred by employers. Additionally, if you're interested in project management positions as an engineer, some employers could prefer the completion of an MBA program for the business and leadership skills it offers.

You could also consider earning state licensure in order to become a professional engineer (PE). This licensure is required in all states for engineers who want to offer their services directly to the public. You must graduate from a program approved by ABET, Inc. (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) and pass an exam to get it. In addition to licensure, you might consider earning certification through an organization like the American Society for Mechanical Engineers. Such a certification could help you demonstrate your competency in the field to potential employers.

Alternative Careers

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

If you're interested in working in an engineering field but you aren't interested in completing a great deal of school, you might be interested in becoming a mechanical engineering technician. These professionals work alongside engineers to design, develop and test a wide variety of products and equipment. They typically only need to earn an associate degree in mechanical engineering technology, though bachelor's degrees are available. In 2011, the BLS reported that they earned a median annual salary of about $51,000, and from 2010-2020, they were expected to see a four percent increase in employment.

Materials Engineers

If you want to work as an engineer but you aren't interested in engine cooling, you might consider becoming a materials engineer. These professionals work with substances like plastic, ceramics and metal to help make a wide variety of products, such as aircraft, automobiles and computers. From 2010-2020 they were expected to see a nine percent increase in employment, according to the BLS, and in 2011 they earned a median annual salary of about $85,000. At least a bachelor's degree in engineering is required to find a job in this field, and you could earn a bachelor's degree in materials engineering.

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