How To Become an Engineer In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how they can become engineers in Australia and what qualifications they need.


If you seek stability, career growth, and job progression, consider a career in engineering.


Engineering has plenty of specialised and extensive roles to offer, through which engineers can flourish creativity and exhibit their knowledge.


Are you passionate about learning more about engineering? You can choose several fields and courses to specialise in any field to make your dream come true.


These courses will provide you with a strong foundation in technical, scientific, and problem-solving skills to create, design, and improve systems.


This blog explains the steps to becoming an engineer in Australia, the qualifications needed, how long it takes to become one, what they do, the subjects you need to study, degrees, salary, and more.


If you want to break into the engineering industry, keep reading!



1. What Does an Engineers Do?


Engineers work in various industries, like developing, designing materials and systems, and testing and evaluating new technologies. They study proven scientific methods and try to apply them to real-world issues. 


Their expertise in math, science, and technology fills our daily lives. They design safer cars and aircraft, improve global communication systems, and construct roads and skyscrapers.


Additionally, they create efficient data storage solutions, develop innovative materials and chemicals, and strive to minimize pollution in our environment.


Engineers are global problem solvers, striving at every level to improve the universal standard of living, expand humanity's reach, and enhance our world overall.



2. Major Duties and Tasks of an Engineer


The tasks and duties of an engineer vary as per their chosen field. 


Here are the most common tasks performed by an engineer:


  • Conduct routine maintenance of mechanical and electrical systems.

  • Provide support in developing management and energy conservation programs.

  • Assist in coordinating, planning, and executing engineering projects.

  • Implement audit recommendations and offer support in conducting energy audits. 

  • Work in compliance with company policies and standard operating procedures. 

  • Execute the daily workload assigned by the Project Manager promptly.

  • Work with management to develop the project budget. 

  • Plan operations and select locations (for instance, choose a mining site for the efficient, safe, and environmentally sound extraction of ores, natural gas, petroleum or minerals).

  • Manage maintenance and repair requests promptly.

  • Plan and supervise construction.

  • Analyse potential problems and suggest corrective actions.

  • Recommending and researching materials (e.g., for use in manufacturing).

  • Provide support in energy conservation improvements and develop preventive maintenance programs. 

  • Ensure the work area is adequately maintained by keeping it safe, clean, and organised.

  • Maintain and inspect everything from buildings and machines to electrical systems and software.

  • Handle engineering equipment safely to avoid accidents effectively.

  • Ensure that engineering tools and equipment are properly stored, cleaned, and kept in good condition.



3. Skills Required To Become an Engineer In Australia


No matter the industry, you need diverse skills to become and excel as an engineer. 


Here are the most common skills required to become an engineer in Australia:



  • Problem-Solving: A significant part of an engineer's job involves identifying problems, analysing a situation, and finding solutions. Employers usually look for individuals ready to face and handle daily work obstacles.


  • Planning: As an engineer, you will get various tasks. It will be entirely up to you to decide which duties are the most crucial to execute first. Here are a few other questions you might consider asking yourself: how long will one task take, and is there another way to do it more efficiently? Overall, planning your tasks is valuable in any profession and will allow you more control over time.


  • Communication: As an engineer, you often must discuss your designs and plans with others. Hence, it is best to communicate your ideas quickly and clearly, mainly when dealing with non-engineers with no technical background. Remember, whether verbal or written, communication will allow you to be more understood and effective and help you progress in your engineering career.


  • Project Management: From the beginning until the end, Engineers have to juggle between many elements of a project, ensuring they complete tasks on time without going over budget. Strong project management skills are necessary to understand the project thoroughly and bring it to fruition.


  • Attention To Details: Engineering is a field that requires a lot of precision, so engineers need to be detail-oriented. Even the slightest error in executing or drafting technical plans can cause threatening situations or financial losses. Remember, employers expect candidates to prove their ability to recognize minor yet significant details.


  • Teamwork: Engineers primarily work in teams, so they must work cooperatively with designers, engineers, management, and manufacturers. Being a part of a team makes work easy and enables you to lean on your team members whenever you need to and help them move achieve a common goal.



4. What Are The Education Requirements To Become an Engineer in Australia?


If you want to become an engineer in Australia, you must first decide what type of engineer you want to become. Even though most of an engineer's skills are transferable between different fields, choose your area of expertise early so that you can focus on your studies and training.


It would be best if you pursue a Bachelor of Engineering degree, majoring in the field of your choices, such as in geotechnical engineering or mining. When deciding where to study, you must choose an accredited institution to become successfully licensed as an engineer. 


Remember, employers also prefer to hire graduates who have taken up an accredited engineering program. After completing your bachelor's degree, you can work as a graduate engineer. You will typically spend two to three years as a graduate before you become a professional engineer.


Furthermore, depending on your specialisation, you can take up additional certifications. Many qualifications are available, such as Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng) or Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) from Engineers Australia.



5. What Qualifications Do You Need To Become an Engineer?


You need formal education and on-the-job experience to become an engineer in Australia. Here are the steps to qualify for this role:


  • Decide on the type of engineer you want to become. It is necessary because you must complete your undergraduate degree in that area. For example, to become a Software Engineer, you must complete a Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science). 

  • Apply for Graduate Engineer roles and gain 2-3 years of experience working in this role to become a Professional Engineer.

  • Consider earning additional certifications based on your specialisation to improve your employability. You may consider Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng) or Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) from Engineers Australia.



6. Steps To Become an Engineer in Australia


Here are the complete steps you can take to become an engineer in Australia:



Step 1: Decide What Type of Engineer You Want To Become


You must know what type of engineer you want to be so that you can choose a specialisation accordingly and focus on studying and training for that particular field. 


For instance, if you wish to enter transport systems and treatment plants or help with buildings' construction and design, you should study civil engineering. On the other hand, if you are interested in inventing self-driving cars, more efficient machines, or safer aircraft, you can opt for mechanical engineering.


Environmental engineers help improve the world's condition by working on various things, like improving water and air quality and reducing pollution. In contrast, electrical engineers work on complex telecommunication and electronic systems. 


They also help to improve energy efficiency in different devices and products. Knowing the type of engineer you want to become helps to achieve your goal faster.


Whether you like to design innovative programs as a software engineer, create new compounds as a chemical engineer, or design robots as an aerospace engineer, there are many options.



Step 2: Complete Your Studies


It requires ongoing study and training to build a promising career in engineering. Purse first an advanced diploma in engineering or an associate degree. It will give you a strong foundation and help you learn the basics of engineering.


The other advantage of studying these courses is that they will introduce you to different engineering fields, such as electrical, chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering. They will help you better understand what area interests you the most. 


After completing an introductory course in engineering, you can take up a bachelor's degree in the area of your choice.



Step 3: Volunteering And Working Your Way Up


Finding a job as an engineer right out of college can be challenging, so you must volunteer to obtain more experience to include on your resume. Conduct thorough research on companies you would like to work for and introduce yourself to them — try offering help or inquiring if they have internships available.


When you demonstrate your skills and prove your worth, there is a high possibility that your work as an intern leads to employment. If not, you could still add more experience to your resume. Remember, with more experience, your resume will always look better, and you will become more skilled.



Step 4: Register With The Relevant Organisation


Once you complete your education and obtain some experience in the engineering background, you must do your best to apply for additional certification. As per your specialisation and state, you can apply for different qualifications, such as Registered Professional Engineer (RPEng) and Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng).


While not strictly required for a career in engineering, these certifications reflect your skills to ensure a certain degree of professional growth. They can help make your resume stand out to every potential employer. 


As plenty of certifications are available, you must conduct thorough research and apply for a company that fits your ideal career path.



7. Employment Opportunities for Engineers in Australia


There are plenty of employment opportunities for engineers in Australia. Most engineering professions in Australia offer an opportunity for growth, innovative experimentation, creative thinking, and intriguing design and development.


As an engineer, you work in diverse areas like watercraft, aircraft, software programs, road designs, and more. 


Here is a list of some popular engineering careers that you can consider:


  • Mechanical Engineer: Mechanical engineering is among the most popular and oldest engineering disciplines. As a mechanical engineer, you will be responsible for organising, designing, and managing the operation, construction, and maintenance of mechanical equipment, machinery, or apparatus.


  • Civil EngineerCivil engineering involves several aspects of construction, including sewerage systems, large buildings, stadiums, bridges, harbours and dams. As a civil engineer, you will design, plan, and construct the built environment. Additionally, you will be responsible for providing technical expertise for the physical infrastructure.


  • Mining EngineerAs a mining engineer, you will specialise in the development and management of mines, minerals processing, mine reclamation, and extractive technology.


  • Chemical EngineerAs a chemical engineer, you must employ biological and chemical techniques to process and transform raw materials into functional and usable substances or products.


  • Environmental Engineer: As an environmental engineer, you manage and evaluate the effects of human or other activities on the natural environment.


  • Electronic or Electrical Engineer: As an electrical engineer, you need to deal with extensive electrical systems, like electrical engines or generators. An engineer works with small-scale electronic systems, such as circuits, motherboards, and nanoelectronics.



8. How Long Does It Take To Become an Engineer In Australia?


Becoming an engineer usually involves initial education, which includes obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree with a specialisation. Furthermore, you will have to undergo supervised training and additional post-graduate examinations to achieve a professional engineering license. 


Altogether, combined with education and on-the-job training, it usually takes around six to seven years to become an engineer in Australia.



9. How Much Does an Engineer Earn in Australia?


Engineering is a lucrative profession in Australia, where the average starting salary is AU$ 62,715 and can go up to AU$ 119,251 as you build experience.


You may earn higher income rates in Australia if you:


  • Develop experience and expertise, 

  • Gain higher-level academic qualifications

  • Specialise in a high-paid engineering field (healthcare and technology) 

  • Earn professional certifications

  • Work in high-paying cities in Australia

  • Work in high-paying companies, i.e., large companies and corporations


Highest paying cities for Engineers in Australia are:


  • Sydney Central Business District: $124,683 per year

  • Perth: $110,227 per year

  • Newcastle: $106,327 per year

  • Canberra: $106,130 per year

  • Wollongong: $105,377 per year

  • Sydney: $101,651 per year

  • Brisbane: $101,357 per year

  • East Perth: $97,119 per year

  • North Ryde: $93,015 per year



10. Which Engineering Has The Highest Salary?


Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) graduates have excellent carer prospects in Australia and abroad. The qualification equips you with the knowledge and skills to pursue domestic and global opportunities and specialise in an engineering niche.


Here are some of the available career opportunities for Engineers, along with their national average salary:




11. Are Engineers in Demand in Australia?


Australia is the land of opportunities for engineers. Engineering professions are in demand, with plenty of choices available.


For example, you can work in construction, telecommunications, information technology, mining, pharmaceutical, and many more sectors.


According to Engineers Australia, the engineering profession remains resilient despite worldwide economic uncertainty and substantial considerable fiscal stimulus in transport infrastructure, defence, and renewable energy segments.


  • Over the past two years, Engineering vacancies have grown nationwide by 80 per cent compared to 42% for average vacancies of all occupations in Australia.

  • Queensland has been the best-performing state concerning the growth of engineering vacancies among the states in 2022, with a 44 per cent increase. 

  • Most engineering vacancies are in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. ACT is the best-performing territory for Engineers across Australia.

  • The Engineering profession continues to experience a skill shortage throughout the country due to the growing number of projects requiring engineering skills. With continued demand outstripping supply, there is expected to be a strong demand for engineers in the coming future.  

  • The government is putting in heightened efforts to attract engineering talent, exploring innovative ways to build its capability, and helping migrant engineers.



12. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Which University is Number One in Australia for Engineering?


The University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW) is the best university to study engineering courses. It ranks 21 among Best Universities for Engineering worldwide and 37 among the best global universities.


Furthermore, the university boasts its largest faculty of engineering in the entire country. It offers 165 individual course specialisations, of which 25 are undergraduate, and 140 are postgraduate degrees.



How Many Years is Engineering in Australia?


It takes 4-year full-time to complete a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) university program in Australia. Some universities also offer this course part-time, which requires eight years of study.


Usually, the entry ATAR for an undergraduate Engineering course is between 75 to 90. RMIT offers an on-campus Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) program with a Guaranteed ATAR of 75.00.



Is Australia Good For Engineering Jobs?


Yes. Engineering careers are in high demand in Australia due to a high boom in engineering sectors such as Mining, Infrastructure, IT services, consumer goods, and finance sector in Australia.


Additionally, engineers in Australia earn, on average, $85,000, which assures a decent living. Therefore, Australia is considered good for engineering jobs.



What Is The Happiest Engineering Job?


A happy engineering job is the combination of the following factors such as:


  • Good working environment 

  • Pleasant people 

  • Varied and interesting tasks 

  • Less stressful job responsibilities

  • Good salary and special office initiatives

  • Work-life balance


Considering the above, here are the least stressful and enjoyable engineering careers in Australia:



Biomedical Engineers


  • Workplace: Mostly indoors, such as research facilities, labs, hospitals, and manufacturing plants.

  • Work hours: Mostly standard weekday hours, but occasionally need to work longer hours when approaching deadlines

  • Average Salary: AU$69,144 per year  

  • Entry-Level Education: Bachelor's degree in engineering, chemistry, medicine, or a specific area of research of your interest.



Computer Hardware Engineers


  • Workplace: Mostly indoors, such as research labs and high-tech manufacturing firms. 

  • Work hours: Mostly around 40 hours a week, except during crucial project development stages.

  • Average Salary: AU$95,000 per year

  • Entry-Level Education: Bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, or a related field.



Materials Engineers


  • Workplace: Mostly in office environments in industries, including equipment manufacturing, metal manufacturing, transportation, and computer manufacturing.

  • Work hours: They generally work a regular 40-hour week 

  • Average Salary: AU$84,193 per year

  • Entry-Level Education: Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or a related field.



Health and Safety Engineers


  • Workplace: Usually indoors in manufacturing, but may require spent time at engineering or construction worksites.

  • Work hours: Their workweek rarely exceeds 40 hours 

  • Average Salary: AU$94,975 per year 

  • Entry-Level Education: Bachelor's degree in engineering, occupation health, or a related field.



Environmental Engineers


  • Workplace: Work in offices and outdoors in engineering or technical consulting services

  • Work hours: These professionals typically work 40 hours a week unless chasing project deadlines 

  • Average Salary: AU$75,879 per year 

  • Entry-Level Education: Bachelor's degree in environmental engineering or a related field



Which Engineering is Easiest?


Environmental engineering is easier as it is less focused on advanced physics and mathematics than other engineering majors.


Environmental engineering studies integrate environmental science, ecology concepts, and engineering fundamentals. They focus on developing structures and machines that cause negligible or less environmental harm.


Also, working on several design projects to solve issues impacting the Earth makes the profession exciting and meaningful.


Other easy engineering majors are Industrial Engineering and Architectural Engineering.



Which Engineering is Toughest?


Many students consider Electrical Engineering to be the most challenging major due to two main reasons:

  • The electrical engineering curriculum mainly focuses on the mathematics and physics principles of electricity, electromagnetism, and electronics. This knowledge enables them to work on and enhance electrical hardware. However, heavy use of abstract mathematical concepts like partial differential equations makes it challenging for an average student.


  • This engineering major involves a lot of abstract thinking. Unlike civil engineering and other majors, you can't visually see the impact of your design. In other words, you can't physically experience the flow of electric currents, wireless signals, electric or magnetic fields, etc. So, electrical engineering students require high creative thinking to study this major.



Is It Hard to Get Into Engineering?


There is a wide availability of engineering jobs throughout Australia and a huge demand for engineers to fill those roles.


However, at the same time, there is also a massive supply of engineers competing for those positions leading to intense competition in this profession.


Additionally, the shortlisting process for engineering jobs is highly sophisticated in Australia. It implies that only the robust applications get selected, and only the top candidates make it to the interview. Both reasons make it tough to get into engineering in Australia.


However, we have some tips to enhance your chances of landing a role in engineering in Australia:


Tip 1: Find a company that aligns with your goals


Tip 2: Be picky when applying to companies. Choose companies that offer high job satisfaction over high-paying ones. It is essential because only when you can connect emotionally and mentally to the job can you help yourself and your company grow.


 Tip 3: Make a solid and effective resume and cover letter


  • Write a resume targeted to a specific job you wish to apply for.

  • List the job requirements as skills in your resume.

  • Keep the resume in a simple professional format, between 2 to 3 pages.


Tip 4: Use skills and attributes in job ads as keywords in your application "as it is" and not its synonyms. However, use keywords sparingly, as they may fail to pass the filtering process used by recruiters and managers.


Tip 5: Use your engineering network and LinkedIn connections to build a credible online presence.


Tip 6: Practice common questions for different types of Engineering Interviews to make the best impression on the interviewer and prove that you are the right candidate for the job:



Due to high competition, getting an engineering job in Australia can take a lot of work. However, there is also a high demand for engineering jobs that can give you the certainty of finding employment in this field.



What Subjects Do You Need To Be an Engineer?


Aspiring engineers must complete their Year 12 Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry education to gain admission to engineering courses in Australia.



How to Become an Engineer in Australia Without a Degree?


There are three learning pathways to becoming an engineer in Australia.


  1. Complete a recognised engineering degree, i.e., a Bachelor of Engineering.

  2. Complete an undergraduate university qualification in another discipline and a Master's degree in Engineering or a related field. 

  3. Those who can't invest 4 to 5 years in studying for degree courses can complete VET courses in engineering-related areas such as manufacturing, fabrication and welding, and mechanical engineering.


These courses strongly focus on practical teaching methods that will provide you with the much-needed knowledge and practical skills to pursue support roles as an engineering technologist or engineering associate in Australia.



Is it Worth Studying Engineering in Australia?


Australia is one of the best places to study engineering for the following reasons:


  • The country has five academic institutions that occupy a place in the top 50 engineering and technology universities worldwide. 

  • There are over 50 accredited engineering programs all over the country.

  • Studying engineering courses in Australia provides a profession with an extensive reach. These courses are well-regarded by overseas employers who want experienced and qualified graduates to do the job.



What Is The Dropout Rate For Engineering in Australia?


The Dropout rate in engineering is approx. 54% (with variation across sectors and institutions). Such a high proportion of non-completions is an extreme loss to the qualified workforce of Australia.


According to an article published in The Age, the rising high living costs in Australia are one of the reasons behind it.



Is it Hard To Get an Engineering Job in Australia?


Yes. Engineering is among the most competitive fields in Australia. So, finding an engineering job can be challenging if you are not a high-scoring candidate or have an excellent professional network.


However, your chances of getting a job also depend:

  • What type of engineer you are,  

  • What skills, experience, and qualifications you have, and  

  • At what locations are you searching for jobs


We have some strategies that may help you get a job faster:


  • Apply for as many internships as you can.

  • Search LinkedIn for employers and mail them about your capabilities.

  • Offer to work for free for a specific period to build experience.

  • While job searching or during college breaks, volunteer for charities once a week and mention it in your resume. As Aussies love to support charities, they will consider you as equal and part of their culture.

  • Most job positions are for specialist roles, so it would help to gain specialisation in a niche before entering the job market.  

  • Regularly check recruitment pages to identify areas that demand your type of engineer. 


For example, the demand for civil engineers seems unusually high in eastern Australia. It means qualified civil engineers will have an easier time getting a role in this location.



Which Engineering is Most Demanded in Australia?


Australia is a tech-powered economy known for adopting new technologies more rapidly than most other countries.


Its outsized A$167 billion technology sector is now Australia's 3rd most significant contributor to GDP, ahead of the construction and health industry.


For this reason, Software engineering has a great demand compared to all engineering specialities in the country. Engineers specialising in this field are creative thinkers who work to improve their surroundings and shape the country's future.


They design software and digital applications for tech gadgets, develop software upgrades to ensure safe and proper system operation and develop new technologies to boost the country's economy in the future.


Almost all significant businesses require Software engineers who can work on innovating something new and unique to keep them ahead of the competition. Due to this, the demand for engineers is constantly rising across all major businesses in Australia.


Looking at their remarkable contribution, Software Engineers are considered the future of technology and business. Whether it is a startup or a Fortune 500 company, their skills are in demand in every industry and level. 


According to Labour Market Insights, the government projects a whopping job growth rate of 27% for Software professionals (ANZSCO ID 2613) between 2021 and 2026 in Australia.


Due to their high demand, they are also one of the highest-paid professions in Australia, with an average salary of AUD 82,155 per year.



How Do I Start an Engineering Career?


Follow the below steps to gain the required knowledge, skills, and experience to find work as a qualified engineer:



Step 1: Study For a Relevant University Program


You require at least a bachelor's degree to pursue Engineering roles in Australia. A bachelor's of Engineering (Honours) gives you the relevant skill set to work at an entry-level in this profession.


Ensure you check the university's official government rankings online before finalising one. This indicator will give you an insight into student contentment and the job outlook of recent graduates.



Step 2: Consider Completing a Master's Degree


To improve your employability for the role, you should consider completing a postgraduate degree to gain specialisation in your field.


A Master's of Engineering allows you to expand your knowledge of your interests and attain senior-level roles in your engineering field.



Step 3: Obtain Engineering Work Experience


A prior relevant work experience is highly regarded by employers when hiring candidates for an engineering role. You can start as an engineer-in-training or an engineering intern in a company.


Besides building experience, it can also help you build/widen your professional network with engineers in your field.



Step 4: Get Licenced


Graduates with an engineering degree from an accredited Australian university qualify to apply for an engineering licence.


You may need to pass a test designed by engineering experts who test your skills and assess your ability to get licenced. Being licenced shows your employers that you can perform the duties of an engineer safely and efficiently.



Step 5: Apply for a Full-Time Role as a Professional Engineer


Having gained entry-level experience, you now earn the confidence and capability to work as a full-time work engineer.


Online job boards are helpful tools for finding and applying for relevant full-time job openings at your preferred location.


Now that you know everything about how to become an engineer in Australia, you are ready to explore a career in engineering. 


It is a huge advantage to have experience in engineering. However, having an improved skill set, a great mentor, and continued education will help you progress in your career as an engineer.


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