As an Air Force Engineering Officer you will lead teams of highly skilled technicians operating in a fast paced and dynamic environment.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Engineering and Technical Trades
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As an Air Force Engineering Officer you will lead teams of highly skilled technicians operating in a fast paced and dynamic environment.

Engineering Officers are responsible for the acquisition, maintenance and through-life support of all NZDF aircraft and aeronautical equipment, so you will need to be prepared to develop and apply a broad knowledge of aeronautical engineering. To complement your engineering skills, your success as an Engineering Officer will rely on your great people skills, leadership potential and the motivation to take on real responsibility early in your career.

Job on base

Air Force Engineering Officers are employed in a wide variety of roles across the Air Force Bases and Headquarters. Your diverse career path may see you managing engineering projects, designing repairs or modifications, investigating component failures or leading maintenance teams on an operational squadron.

Job on deployment

When working on an operational squadron, Engineering Officers often deploy with our aircraft as part of the maintenance crew. In this role you will provide leadership and direction to a team of technical personnel to ensure the aircraft are available and safe to operate.

This is a challenging role that can be carried out in trying conditions, however, it is also a unique test of the technical expertise and leadership skills you will have developed with the Air Force.

The Air Force eventually paid for half of my degree, so that was pretty cool, and then had a job once I graduated.

The possibilities and the training out there continues and the Air Force is in support of that.

Johnny Young

Flight Lieutenant

Career progression and training

Career progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Specialist Training

Your introduction to the Air Force will be the RNZAF Commissioning Course (ROC) at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. This course will teach you the core skills required to be an Officer in the military – personal drive, teamwork and leadership.

On completion of ROC you will be posted to an RNZAF Base for 6-12 months as a Junior Engineering Officer to develop a basic understanding of the Engineering Officer role. You will then undertake the General Engineering Officer Training (GEOT) Course at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. This nine month course covers various aspects of aircraft engineering and maintenance, including aerodynamics, principles of flight, structures, avionics systems and the fundamentals of airworthiness.

Following the GEOT Course you will get the opportunity to continue building your knowledge and experience as you progress through your initial career.  You will change to a new role every 2 to 3 years to ensure you gain the breadth of experience required to be a suitably qualified and experienced senior engineering leader. Roles will include leading aircraft and component maintenance teams, as well as jobs that more generally support the acquisition, sustainment, airworthiness and safety of our aircraft.  To complement your general development there are also opportunities to develop an engineering specialty such as structural design, software engineering, avionics system design, and propulsion system management.

RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROC)

(26 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne

All individuals selected to become Commissioned Officers in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) are required to complete this course. It is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and experience necessary for commissioned service and the beginning of a career in leadership. This course will cover various subjects including:

  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Law
  • Military Field Skills and Weapons Training
  • Defence and Strategic Studies
  • Personnel Administration
  • Communication Skills
  • Command, Leadership and Management
  • First Aid

After successful completion of the RNZAF Officer Commisioning Course, you will be posted to an RNZAF Base for 6-12 months as a Junior Engineering Officer to develop a basic understanding of the Engineering Officer role. You will then undertake the General Engineering Officer Training (GEOT) Course at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. The nine month GEOT Course provides a common foundation understanding of RNZAF aeronautical engineering for all Junior Engineering Officers, regardless of background or entry path. Topics covered include aircraft materials, aircraft design and construction, aerodynamics, propulsion, fuel, hydraulics, weapons, instruments, navigation, radar, communications and electrical power distribution. It also covers Air Force technical airworthiness regulation, administration and procedures, and includes visits to Defence and civilian aerospace organisations in NZ and Australia.

As you continue through your career there will be regular opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD), and you will be expected to complete CPD to remain at the top of your game as a professional engineer. Many roles have specific training and development opportunities both in NZ and overseas, and Masters level post-graduate training forms the foundation of our specialist engineering streams.

The Air Force is committed to professional development and fully supports our Engineering Officers to become members of Engineering New Zealand, or other equivalent professional body. Options exist to also become a Chartered Engineer, providing valuable external recognition of the engineering skills and experience you gain in the Air Force.

Your development as a military officer will also continue throughout your career, and you will complete advanced military training at the NZDF Command and Staff College at Trentham Military Camp (Wellington). This training will help you to hone your leadership and management skills, while also providing an insight into international relations and the role that the NZDF plays in national, regional and global security.

To complement your general development there are also opportunities to develop an engineering speciality.  The foundation of specialist development is a Masters level qualification from a United Kingdom university, with options including Thermal Power and Propulsion, Aerospace Vehicle Design (structures or avionics design streams), Software Engineering, and Airworthiness.  As a specialist you will still have the opportunity to complete general engineering roles, but will be carefully managed through key specialist roles that ensure you are suitably qualified and experienced in your specialist field.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Military Factor

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain SV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must be free of any criminal convictions.

Direct entry

Direct Entry applicants need to hold, or be in their final year of, a BE(Hons) or BEng(Tech)* specialising in mechanical, electrical, electronics, mechatronics, or aeronautical engineering.

*BEng(Hons) is preferred but those holding or undertaking a BEng(Tech) will have grades and previous work experience reviewed for suitability for entry on a case by case basis.

Specialisations outside those mentioned will also be considered on a case by case basis please contact to check your suitability.

Scholarship entry

The Airforce offer graduate and undergraduate scholarships for engineering students who demonstrate the qualities required to become an Engineering Officer.

The minimum educational requirement to apply for a scholarship is NCEA Level 3 with 18 credits in Level 3 Mathematics (preferably Calculus) and Physics and University Entrance.

The scholarships are:

  • Bursary (Air Force Reserve Undergraduate Scheme) Scheme: Study at an approved university institution of your choice while the Airforce covers your fees and a living allowance on a ‘year for a year’ return of service basis.
  • Graduate Incentive Scheme: Study at the university of your choice and, on completion of your degree, you will have approximately a quarter of your course fees reimbursed annually for every year you serve for up to four years. No return of service incurred.

View our Engineering Scholarship programmes >

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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