When you were younger, you probably imagined that roller coaster designers were just kids who never grew up.
Well, you were half right. These people are kids at heart, but that is combined with a brilliant mind to make a great ride designer.
Roller coasters are usually custom made depending on a theme park’s budget and the elements they want to have on the ride. They will call in a designer to create and propose a ride. The designer team has to think about all sorts of factors: What is the landscape like? How many riders can be on at a time? How tall should it be? Will it go upside down? How fast? The amount of factors to consider are endless.
If the park decides to go forward with a proposed coaster, the engineering designers set to work on the ride, building the track, structure, stations, and controls. The designs then get sent to the manufacturing department which builds the machine. They then ship it off to the park. The process to build the ride usually takes over a year.
Roller coaster designers don’t just spend their time testing the latest rides. They spend most of their time in an office working on a computer. When a ride is being built, workers may have to travel to work sites to oversee development and construction. Examining construction details and helping to test a new coaster may be physically demanding and even dangerous.
While job prospects for civil and structural engineers are plentiful, roller coaster design jobs are extremely scarce. Most jobs in the field require a bachelor’s degree in engineering. It is helpful to get a strong science and math background in high school. Roller coaster designers also need computer modeling skills. In addition, roller coaster designers have to be able to work as part of a team and have good communication skills. In addition, it’s important to get internships where you can develop relationships with people already in the field.
Here are a few internships at amusement parks: