Types of Engineers in Australia

Not sure which type of engineer to call? Take a look at our who’s who guide to types of engineering.

We all know an engineer, but do any of us know what they actually do? Engineering has been around since humans first started to live in communities with infrastructure. To this day, it is still a popular profession throughout the world. 

With the changing world, new and expanded subsets of engineering have emerged. For example, there is now a higher demand for energy engineers who can specialise in the testing and production of new renewable energy sources. 

To find out more about the types of engineers in Australia, keep reading…

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

The 7 Types of Engineers in Australia

1. Civil engineers.

Civil engineers are one of the most common types of engineers in Australia. They are responsible for designing, building and supervising projects and systems for societal infrastructure.

About Civil Engineering

Civil is one of the oldest types of engineering, dating back to when humans first began living in permanent dwellings in communities. As communities grew into towns and then cities, the need for practical waste disposable and access to clean water grew. In turn, this increased the demand for the trade.

Civil engineers are behind most of our man-made Wonders of the World. The Eiffel Tower was in fact named after Gustave Eiffle, the civil engineer whose company built it. The Golden Gate Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge and Great Wall of China were also all the works of great civil engineers and their teams.

Civil Engineering Education & Salary

To become a civil engineer in Australia, you’ll require a Bachelor’s degree or higher in civil engineering. To further yourself up the ladder in the industry, it is likely a licence will be required. The average salary for a civil engineer in Australia as of 2020 is $74,000, according to PayScale.


2. Electrical engineers.

About Electrical Engineering

An electrical engineer develops new electrical systems, tests equipment and solves problems relating to electrical work. A lot of their job centers around the applied physics and mathematics of electricity. Electrical engineers often work closely with civil and mechanical engineers. 

The majority of electrical engineers work centers around large-scale projects such as power management. However, they are often also concerned with smaller electronic circuits, such as in appliance design. In fact, every electrical appliance you own has had an electrical engineer aid in the development process in some way. 

Microelectronics is a newer and emerging field of electrical engineering growing at a rapid rate. It focuses on the development and testing of new electrical circuits in smaller devices, such as computers and mobile phones.

Electrical Engineering Demand, Education & Salary

Currently in Australia, according to the University of New South Wales, there is a growing demand in electrical engineering in the renewable energy, mobile networking, banking and finance sectors.

To become an electrical engineer in Australia, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, with a focus or major in mathematics. Prior to attending university, it is likely you’ll be required to have completed physics, technology or chemistry with good results. According to PayScale, the average electrical engineer earns $77,000 annually.

3. Energy engineers.

About Energy Engineering

Energy engineering is a growing field around the world. Due to their role in developing and testing energy efficient solutions, the need for this type of engineer is needed in almost every country.

An energy engineer assists in the development and discovery of energy efficient machines. They often spend their days testing new energy efficient solutions, working across the entire energy lifecycle including, extraction, production, conversion, transmission and distribution.

Electrical Engineering Education & Salary

As energy engineering is growing to be such a large field, it’s becoming one of the top choices for graduating engineers. To be employed in the field, a Bachelor’s degree in engineering will be required, with a major in renewable energy will be an employers preference. According to PayScale, an energy engineer earns $65,000 annually on average in Australia.


4. Mechanical engineers.

About Mechanical Engineers

Australian mechanical engineers spend their time designing power-producing machinery. This often includes things such as electric generators, internal combustion engines and steam and gas generators. 

A large portion of their role includes the development, research, evaluation, testing and maintenance of machinery. They also work closely with other sectors to design robotics and other automated systems.

Mechanical Engineering Demand, Education & Salary

Mechanical engineers are in high demand in industries such as mining, automotive and power generation and distribution.  

To become a mechanical engineer in Australia, you’ll require a Bachelor’s degree in engineering with a major in mechanical engineering. It should be noted there is an assumed knowledge of a high level of math and physics. While a student is undertaking this degree, it is recommended they complete work experience as the field is highly competitive.

5. Plumbing engineers.

About Plumbing Engineering

Plumbing engineering is not the same as your everyday plumber. Their role goes further than fixing your clogged bathroom sink. This type of engineering has been around since humans began living in communities, requiring waste removal and clean water. These engineers work very closely with both civil and mechanical engineers. 

The work of a plumbing engineer centres mostly around the development, testing, installation and operation of water networks throughout different structures and cities. They focus on water management systems, including water heating, cooling, filtering and transportation within buildings, as well as fire protection engineering.

Plumbing engineers also work closely with civil engineers to ensure structures are able to be built with the required fire rating. This involves the installation, testing and maintenance of internal sprinkler systems.

Plumbing Engineer Salary & Education

To become a plumbing engineer in Australia, a Bachelor’s degree in engineering is required. Most employers look for applicants with a major in mechanical or architectural engineering. According to PayScale, the average annual salary for a plumbing engineer is $72,000.

6. Structural engineers.

About Structural Engineering

The primary role of  a structural engineer is to ensure the safety of buildings and structures alike. Part of their role is ensuring that the buildings meet safety codes and can withstand the elements of the area which they are built in. For example, a building in Far North Queensland will be required to be built to cyclone standards. Similarly, a bridge built in London would have to be able to hold large volumes of traffic, as well as withstand high winds and snow. 

While the role of a structural engineer is very similar to that of a civil engineer, there are a few key differences. Technically, structural engineering is a subset of civil engineering, but as the role is so large it’s often considered its own sector. 

The role of a structural engineer often includes analysing blueprints, estimating costings, computing load and grade requirements, inspecting project sites and conducting studies of the local area. Much of the designing is now created on computer-based design programs.

Structural Engineering Education & Salary

To become a structural engineer in Australia, a Bachelor’s degree in engineering is required, most commonly with a major in mechanical engineering. A strong background in math and physics is usually preferred. On average, a mechanical engineer in Australia will earn $72,000 annually according to PayScale.


7. Engineering technology.

About Engineering Technology

While technology engineering can technically be considered a subset of electrical engineering, it does exist within its own realm. These engineers have a very specific set of skills. Mostly their work centres around maintaining computer hardware for large and small organisations. 

A large portion of their position involves maintaining and testing new security software. This covers everything from payment security, internal security cameras and access cards to IT infrastructure such as Wifi.  

A day in the life of a technology engineer will often include the completion of detailed reports around recent and upcoming testing. Sometimes acting as the initial point of contact for all IT related issues, they will often wear many hats.

Technology Engineering Education & Salary

To become a technology engineer in Australia, you’ll require a Bachelor’s degree in engineering. With a major in technology/IT. A strong background in maths, physics and technology is often a prerequisite. According to PayScale the average yearly salary for a technology engineer is $65,000.

Frequently asked questions about engineering.

What is engineering?

Engineering is the study, design, implementation, testing, evaluating and maintenance of different man-built elements of society. There are many different types of engineering, the main 7 of these we go into detail of above.

Is engineering a good job to have in Australia?

Due to the rapidly growing population in Australia, there is a large demand for new infrastructure. Where there is a large demand for new infrastructure, there is a high need for engineers. Becoming an engineer in Australia is a good choice if you’re looking for well paid and stable work.  

Have more questions about engineering? Contact your local engineer!

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      Katrina Stapleton

      Senior Digital Content Specialist

      Katrina Stapleton is a Senior Digital Content Specialist at Localsearch with a background in social media and marketing. Although most of her experience lies in the entertainment sector, Katrina has written content for a vast array of industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and property development. Katrina is an avid dog lover, who finds a way to weave her fur-baby, Mylo, into most conversations. Aside from being a self-confessed bookworm, Katrina can often be found checking out the Gold Coast's latest coffee nook, paddle-boarding or baking up a storm in her free time — all with Mylo by her side, of course! As a Senior Digital Content Specialist, Katrina enjoys sharing her knowledge and passions on the Localsearch Blog.