Best Accredited Automotive Engineering Schools in California | 2022 Ranking

To own a vehicle, in many societies, is a clear indication that you are doing so well for yourself. It is like a measure of wealth as it seems like only the rich can afford the good ones. And now, because everyone wants to appear on the scene, everyone wants a car.

This craving for luxury has vehemently increased the demand for automobiles and apparently the demand for automotive engineers. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best automotive engineering schools in California where you can acquire your training.

You can hardly imagine a world without automobiles. You and I and everyone else use vehicles to get to work, visit other locations, and move around in everyday errands. In fact, to many people, this is the only use of vehicles they know. However, you will be surprised at many other ways automobiles are used.

Aside from being used as means of transportation, automobiles have been used in sporting. Many sports cars have been designed and released into the market as racing has become popular. The same has attracted not only top vehicle brands but also millions of fans and hefty sponsorship deals.

Automobile technology is undoubtedly going high each passing day giving rise to the demand of automobile engineers. California, as one of the biggest cities in the USA, has virtually the highest demand for vehicle engineers.

Do follow me closely as we explore the best automobile engineering schools in California where you can acquire your training.

But meanwhile, see the table of contents here below for an overview of you’ll find in this article.

Why Study Automotive Engineering in California?

California is the most populous state in the US. It is home to Hollywood’s stars, Silicon Valley’s technology, Napa Valley’s wines and ancient Redwood and Sequoia forests.

It is one of the country’s wealthiest and most socially and politically influential states. It is as well one of the choicest locations for international students looking to study in the states.

California has some of the country’s best universities which include Stanford, the University of Southern California, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Studying in California offers you an opportunity to learn in state of the art facilities with courses taught by qualified professional engineers.

California automotive engineering programs allow for adequate hands-on training that allows students to get in-depth education in engineering principles and vehicle development techniques.

Unlike online automotive engineering programs, California automotive engineering schools incorporates at least 10 hours long study time in school engineering lab.

At the end of your stay in school, these series of rigorous training culminates to enhance your career hence, you explore and excel in the automotive industry.

Furthermore, studying in California offers you an opportunity to become a beneficiary of the numerous scholarship opportunities.

These and many more are some of the reasons why you should consider pursuing an automotive engineering career in California.

Read Also: Accredited Electrical Engineering Schools in Texas.

What Jobs Can I do With an Automotive Engineering Degree in California?

More than every other state in the US, Michigan, California, and Texas are known to have the highest demand of automotive engineers.

According to a report on indeed.com, there are over 370 automotive engineering vacancies advertised yearly across the states. This sounds great for you huh?

What this means is that you’ll have a lot of work to do working as an automotive engineer. When you complete your training and finally become an automotive engineer in California, you could be working for some of these companies listed below where you’ll take various roles.

Some of the most prominent automotive engineering companies in California include:

  • Tesla Motors.
  • Kia Motors America
  • Mercedes Benz of Walnut Creek. 
  • Mazda 
  • ModVans
  • Rivian
  • Fisker Automotive
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How Long Does It Take to Become an Automotive Engineer in California?

How long you spend in a California automotive engineering school depends on the program you enroll for. Bachelor of Science program in automobile California schools will last for four years.

It takes an average of two years to earn a master’s degree in automotive engineering and an average of five years for a PhD degree.

Most automotive colleges in California offer an Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology programs. It is usually a 2-year college while the automotive certificate program duration ranges from 2 months to 2 years.

In summary, these automotive engineering degrees in California usually teach courses that cover engine performance, electrical systems, engine repair, and vehicle maintenance.

What Are the Requirements to Graduate from an Automotive School in California?

Sincerely speaking, the requirements to enroll and complete your training from an automotive engineering school in California depend mostly on the program you select.

Typically, enrolling for a bachelor of science program in automobile engineering will require students to complete high school with a good GPA while a master’s degree will require an official BSC transcript.

Most automotive schools in California offer certificate programs and degree programs. For 2-year automotive technology associate degree, students must complete 60 credit hours. While to earn an automotive technology certificate students must complete 24-45 credit hours.

To graduate from a BSC degree program in an automotive school in California, students must complete core course and electives. These course must cover genres of automotive engineering which include:

  • Automotive Engine Performance Analysis
  • Automotive Suspension and Steering Systems
  • Microcomputer Applications
  • Automotive Heating and Air Conditioning
  • Advanced Emission Systems Diagnostics and Automotive Services
  •  Battery Systems & Control
  • Automotive Body Structures
  • Vehicle Dynamics.

You can earn a Master’s degree if you want to be qualified for higher-level positions in the engineering field.

In the same vein, you’d need to be licensed to make the most of this career. There are several licensing requirements in place for California engineers. All licensing of engineers goes through the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists.

You’ll need to pay a $125 application fee, you can take the Principles & Practice of Engineering exam and get your license.

How Much Does it Cost To Earn an Automotive Engineering Degree?

With so many schools in California, it’s clear that there are many different tuition costs. California State University-Chico is one of the most affordable schools in the area; tuition is $3,486 per semester for residents and $9,066 per semester for non-residents.

The University of the Pacific is one of the most expensive schools in the state, with a tuition rate of $19,645 per semester.

California is home to many different scholarship programs that can help you offset the cost of your education. The Automotive Service Councils of California awards scholarships of $500 to $1,000.

Students can benefit from scholarships for undergraduate and masters students to pay off tuition at automotive California schools.

Engineering Students can benefit from these Fully Funded Engineering Scholarships.

How Much Do Automotive Engineers Earn in California?

The field of engineering is growing rapidly in California; Sys-Con Media reports on a statewide movement to increase funding to engineering programs all over the state.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that annual pay for automotive mechanics and technicians was $40, 710 in 2018.

 O*Net, an online data portal reports that there will be an expected 10% increase in demand between 2010 and 2020. It indicates that the average salary for an automotive engineer is $91,100 per year.

List of Top Automotive Engineering Schools in California

Mechanical Engineering is a broader discipline of which automotive is a specialty. Consequently, most universities in California do not offer automotive engineering as a Four year BS degree, rather as an option of mechanical engineering.

So, to become an automotive engineer, you must begin as a mechanical engineer at your undergraduate level before you can get into the automotive subset in your graduate studies.

Below are the top automotive engineering schools in California arranged in no particular order. These schools listed here offer an ABET-accredited automotive engineering program but not as BS degree.

The basics of our selection of these schools are their rankings, accreditation, acceptance rate, tuition, graduation rate, and other relevant factors.

We got our data from reliable sources, testimonials, interviews, and also by contacting individual schools. Below is the list of the schools, you will have to read further to get information on the various degree programs offered, tuition info, and program options for these schools.

1. University of California–Berkeley

Address: Irvine, CA 92697, U.S.A
Tuition: $53,316.50(Residents); $58,961.50(non-residents)
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

UC Berkeley is one of the public universities in the University of California system. This school’s College of Engineering ranks 5th in QS and 14th in the ranking of best engineering schools in the world and consistently ranked as one of the top automotive engineering schools in the world.

In fact, the UC Berkeley features one of the most active, innovative, and productive teaching and research laboratories worldwide.

The automotive engineering program curriculum offers bachelor and postgraduates degrees that provide students the opportunity to learn how to design, manufacture, test, and improve mechanical systems.

2. California Institute of Technology

Address: Pasadena, CA
Tuition: $54,600(undergraduate); $54,537(Graduate)
Accreditation: Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

California Institute of Technology is a great place to consider if you want to get a degree in automotive engineering. The school offers 19 bachelor’s, 15 masters, and 10 doctor’s degrees in ME.

The school’s undergraduate program prepares students for promising careers in automotive and related engineering fields, and for continuing on to graduate school.

Graduates of this institute have can demonstrate leadership roles in academia, industry, and government in areas of rapidly advancing interdisciplinary technology related to fluid, solid, thermal energy.

If you enroll in this school, you will consider yourself lucky because Caltech is a top-ranked institution. The school came in at #4 in College Factual’s most recent rankings for the best schools for ME majors. This puts it in the top 5% of the country in this field of study. Not just that, It is also ranked #1 in California.

3. Stanford University

Address: Stanford, CA
Tuition: $57,861
Accreditation:  Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

Stanford University is one of the most popular schools to study Automotive Engineering in California. This school rank 7 out of 1,727 schools nationwide.

The ME department at Stanford offers undergraduate programs that is aimed at providing students with practical experiences that will prepare them for entry-level work as Automotive engineers or for graduate study in engineering.

Similarly, the graduate program aligns academic course work with research to prepare scholars in specialized areas within the ME field. They focus on automatic controls, energy systems, fluid mechanics, design, and more.

If you are interested in studying Automotive Engineering at Stanford, you have to apply to the university through the Stanford Undergraduate Admissions Office.

4. University of California-Davis 

Address: Davis, CA
Tuition:  $28,700(out-of-state); $7,877(in-state)
Accreditation:  Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

UC-Davis is another great option for individuals interested in an Automotive Engineering degree. This institution is fully accredited and ranks 10th position for overall college quality in the state of California.

UC-Davis features a bachelor’s and master’s program in Automotive Engineering. Students begin their studies with a rigorous series of courses in mathematics, natural sciences, and basic engineering to prepare themselves for more advanced study.

However, towards the final year, students study more advanced essential engineering topics. They are allowed to choose their area specialties such as topics as vehicle stability, mechatronics, combustion, and the environment or wind-tunnel experimentation.

Additionally, graduates of UC-Davis generally make an average of $61,700 at the beginning of their careers.

5. Santa Clara University

Address: Santa Clara, CA
Tuition: $12,440
Accreditation:  Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

If you are interested in a more advanced degree in Automotive engineering, Santa Clara University is the first option you should consider. SCU is a top Automotive engineering school in California and ranks #19 as the most popular school in CA.

The school ME curriculum features courses that prepare students for work in research and development, product design, or materials engineering at top firms in and beyond the Bay Area.

In addition, Santa Clara offers 76% financial aid in the form of loans and scholarships to students in need.

6. California Polytechnic State University

Address: San Luis Obispo 
Tuition: $23,715 
Accreditation: Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

Cal Poly is a good place for an Automotive engineering program. This school ranks 20th out of 112 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

Cal Poly features degree programs that emphasize fundamental, experimental, and research-based approaches to the full spectrum of mechanical engineering disciplines.

This program provides students at all levels with skills, knowledge, and perspective on the fast-changing field of Automotive engineering discipline.

7. University of California – Los Angeles

Address: Los Angeles CA 
Tuition: $32,588 
Accreditation: Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

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Those interested in advanced degrees will find UC-Los Angeles as a great option. This school ranks as one of the best Automotive engineering universities in California. The ME program of this school has a total enrollment of 308 undergraduates and also features higher degree levels programs.

The department of ME produced 211 graduates in 2015 with students earning 104 Bachelor’s degrees, 82 Master’s degrees, and 25 Doctoral degrees.

UC-Los Angeles, apart from featuring a standard ME program, the school also offer financial aid in the form of loan and scholarship to deserving students.

8. University of California – San Diego

Address: Los Angeles CA 
Tuition: $11,442 (in-state); $26,544 (out-of-state)
Accreditation: Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

UC- San Diego is a popular and one of the best Automotive engineering colleges in California. The ME department recorded over 214 graduates last year.

The ME programs in this school provide students with a strong component in laboratory experimentation, numerical computation, and engineering design.

Program curriculum features homework problems, laboratory, and computer courses which include student-initiated projects.

Automotive engineering graduates of the first level degree from UC-San Diego usually make about $61,000 at the beginning of their careers.

9. University of California-Irvine

Address: Irvine, CA 
Tuition: $11,442 
Accreditation: Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

The University of California-Irvine offers 4 Automotive Engineering Degree programs. These programs offer courses that provide engineering fundamentals and technical electives that allow students to study particular areas of interest.

The course curriculum features key concepts in Energy Systems and Environmental Engineering, Flow Physics and Propulsion Systems, and Design of Mechanical Systems.

The school also provides Independent research opportunities that allow students to pursue other avenues for focusing on their studies.

10. University of Southern California 

Address: Los Angeles CA
Tuition: $12,000
Accreditation: Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

University of Southern California is a large private institution. The school is accredited and offers a Master of Science program in Automotive Engineering.

The program features a curriculum that provides students with the technical education needed for engineering professionals in various industries such as aerospace, automotive, energy, and power, utilities, petrochemical, design, manufacturing, and transportation.

Students in this program can choose from the core areas of study namely; Thermal and Fluid Sciences, Engineering Design, Mechanics and Materials and Advanced Manufacturing

The courses listed above are designed to prepare students for doctoral programs, as well as for continuing your engineering career in the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions on Best Automotive Schools in California

What Are The Top Skills Required Of AN Automotive Engineer?

The top skills every automotive engineer should have is;

. Engineering analysis
. MATLAB
. Research Administration
. Inspection skills
. Maths and IT
. Data Analysis

What can Automobile Engineers do?

Automotive engineers can design and test brake systems, engines, safety mechanisms, fuel technologies, and transmissions.

In the field, engineers use design software to devise new vehicle designs or systems, including ThinkDesign Engineering, Gamma Technologies GT-SUITE, or Corel Painter Sketch Pad.

Some engineers also use grinders, machine tools, and workshop presses to fabricate prototype parts for testing. Individuals interested in designing, testing, and creating automotive systems may be drawn to this line of work.

Which Companies Employ Automobile Engineering?

The field of Automobile Engineering is diverse, and engineers can typically find employment at a variety of companies that span multiple sectors. Automobile Engineers are typically hired by:

Research Institutions
Oil and Fuel Companies
Materials Suppliers
Tyre Companies
Vehicle Design Companies
Automakers

Conclusion

Automobile Engineering also known as Automotive Engineering or Vehicle Engineering is one of the most challenging careers in the field of engineering. Indeed, to become a proficient automobile engineer, specialized training is essential. Automotive Engineering is a profession that requires a lot of hard work, dedication, determination, and commitment. 

The field offers a wide range of opportunities for its prospects which include working in automobile manufacturing industries, production plants, service stations, state road transport corporations, private transport companies, insurance companies, motor vehicle departments etc.

You can be sure to have a swell time in your career if you do acquire your training from any of these listed automotive engineering schools in California.      

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