Amusement Park Designers Education and Training

By Nikki Wheeler, writer
Nov 21, 2010
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

Get on the fast track to success with amusement park designers education and training

Amusement park design is a dream career for many. While it is highly competitive, the industry is constantly growing as more and more amusement parks pop up, and the existing ones seek new rides to keep customers coming.

To land a job in this highly competitive industry, it is essential to start early with the right amusement park designers education and training. Those seeking employment as a theme park designer should possess the following qualities:

1. Be extremely technical, and have an innate curiosity for figuring out how things work

2. Be creative and consider things like style, color and theme, in addition to the technical things

3. Foster a natural interest in and understanding of science, math and physics

Study structural engineering for theme parks design

Structural engineering applies to theme park ride design. You need to be able to design the layout of rides or the design the structures that support the rides.
Tufts University has one of the best engineering programs in the country, with a strong emphasis on structural engineering. The University of California, San Diego has an entire Bachelor of Science program dedicated to structural engineering.

Work in theme park engineering as a mechanical engineer

A mechanical engineer designing a theme park ride would design the actual vehicle of the ride, or other mechanical components such as the wheels, tracks and pulley systems.
Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering and Massachusetts Institute of Technology both have excellent undergraduate programs in mechanical engineering. There are also online degree programs; University of Illinois offers an online and distance Master of Science program in mechanical engineering.

Learn electrical engineering for theme park design

Amusement park designs require electrical engineers to design the control systems of rides, such as roller coasters, so that they operate smoothly.
Northwestern University has one of the best undergraduate programs in electrical engineering. The Polytechnic Institute of New York University offers an online and distance program for a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering.

Score an internship at a theme park design firm

Working an internship, while in college or directly after college, at a theme park design company will provide invaluable experience. An internship will likely consist of drafting the park rides, which is what most entry-level positions with a theme park design firm will entail.
Walt Disney Imagineering, the Disney theme-park design unit, offers internships to the winners of its ImagiNations design contest. Search the database at for available internships in various aspects of engineering at theme park design firms. Search internship opportunities at to find internships at amusement parks to aid in the building or maintenance of theme park rides.
  • Since there is no such thing as a theme park design degree, it would be beneficial for theme park designers to get an education in every related area, such as being a major in engineering and a minor in physics, or double major in mechanical and structural engineering.
  • Although it is not necessary, it is helpful for amusement park designers to have a love of amusement park rides; ride as many as possible and understand their different features.
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