This article is from the Roller Coaster FAQ, by Geoff Allen email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
A lot of us would love to be a roller coaster designer. We often see posts
from people asking how to get such a job. Here are some
comments/advice/etc. on coaster-designing jobs, mostly from people who don't
have such jobs, so take it all with a few grains of salt.
* A lot more people want to design roller coasters than can find jobs
doing it. Be aware of that before setting your hopes too high. Don't
quit your day job, as they say. For example, Arrow Dynamics employs
about a dozen engineers, and has low turnover. The other coaster
designers are probably similar.
* Mechanical and electrical engineering are the most used disciplines.
Arrow also has two civil engineers.
* Get some industry design experience first. Remember these companies are
small, and don't have the ability to train new-hires like a Boeing or
* If you "do" get a job with an amusement design company, recognize that
you're probably not going to start off designing the next big bad roller
coaster. You may design a spinning kiddie ride. Or an insignificant
component of a spinning kiddie ride.
* You can get company addresses from the ACE Directory, phone books, the
Thomas Register of Suppliers, and no doubt other sources. Make friends
with your local librarian. They like looking things up --that's why
they're librarians. It'll cost you $0.32 + paper and time to send a
* Do as much research as you can before you fire off resumes! Join ACE.
Go to the ACE conventions. Talk to people. Go to the IAAPA Convention
(but be forewarned that this is a *business* convention, and if you go
barging in with your resume in hand you may not make too good an
impression; talk to people and see if you can make appointments; do this
*before* going to the convention). Subscribe to Amusement Business.
* If you're still in school, get a summer job at an amusement park. Try
for operations or maintenance (sorry, experience in food service won't
do you too much good ;^) ). Learn everything you can about the rides and
how they're operated and maintained.
Still want to do it? Good luck! We look forward to riding your creations.