Professional and Continuing Education

Automotive Lighting Certification addresses important industry topics

icon of a calendarNovember 23, 2021

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Automotive Lighting Certification addresses important industry topics
Automotive Lighting Certificate
The Automotive Lighting Certification program will provide students, particularly those new to the industry, with a solid foundation in automotive lighting technology and the opportunity to interact with those already in the field. 


Automotive lighting is important to vehicles. It is vital to safety and aids in the aesthetic appeal of many vehicles. The industry has changed from kerosene burning lamps to light emitting diodes, or LED lights, that are used in cars today.

Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science and Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) have worked with automotive lighting companies to develop an Automotive Lighting Certification program, designed to introduce students, particularly those new to the industry, with a solid foundation in automotive lighting technology and the opportunity to interact with those already in the field.

“When we first started this course in 2019, I was still fairly new to the exterior lighting field and thanks to this course, I feel much more knowledgeable and confident in my new role. I would definitely recommend this course to any of my colleagues, regardless of their level of experience,” said Ben Markel, who completed the certificate program in 2020.

The 12-week, 72-hour online program covers fundamental topics, exposing students to Optics and LED Lighting, Electricals and Electronics, Design and Testing, Manufacturing Processes and Marketing.  The program is ideal for recent graduates and working engineers new to the lighting industry.

The program is organized into three modules. Module one focuses on the history of the automotive lighting industry and also, where it is going. It will also cover terminology, components and units that are specific to the industry. Topics include styling, light generation sources, physical optics, optical design and mechanical interface to the vehicle. 

Module two focuses on the importance of safety in automotive lighting. This will provide the students with an introduction to electronics and electrical design, sensor interfaces and thermal design of lighting. The module also covers topics like electromagnetic compatibility, testing and validation, moisture management and autonomous drive. 

In module three, the focus is on manufacturing and marketing. The lights on vehicles are often part of the branding process, so this section will highlight regulations, safety, intellectual properties and branding that are important in the industry. Topics include project life cycle management, injection molding and tooling, materials and coating and electronic manufacturing. 

Participant Michael Luketich said the setup of the class allowed it to feel fresh and engaging at every meeting. 

“The broadness of the class allowed for me to better understand the inner workings of the entire industry and the general path that lighting takes and it makes where I fit into the process more clear,” said Luketich.

In previous classes, pre-pandemic, the students have been able to visit automotive lighting companies to get a look at the process first-hand. While the visits aren’t required, many of the students have found them helpful and educational.

“My favorite parts of the class were the live demonstrations and field trip sections. I am a very hands-on learner so the opportunity to experience so being able to experience different parts of lamp design and production was very helpful for me,” said Markel.

Luketich appreciated the knowledgeable subject-matter experts who taught the courses. 

“This allowed for more in-depth discussions on topics with the very person who was working on that subject,” said Luketich. “It was also helpful to have other experts and class instructors in the room listening and asking their own questions. There were several times when another student or instructor would ask a question that I hadn’t thought of or wouldn’t have thought to ask about. In these instances, my knowledge was expanded from the social construct of being with many individuals that each had a different level of experience.”

Advances in lighting such as smart lights, LED innovations, high efficiency and low cost are fueling the rapid pace of technology changes and the need for courses like this to bring those in the industry up-to-date.  According to research and projections, engineers entering the LED lighting industry are in high demand and nationally earn a median salary of $100,000. 

Each module will be offered twice per year. The total cost for the program is $3,600. A PACE Certificate of Achievement will be awarded upon successful completion of the program.

The next session begins on January 4, 2022. Please register for the program here.

For more information on the Automotive Lighting Certification program, visit the PACE website or email oupace@oakland.edu.

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