Engineering Officer

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 our aircraft so you will need to be prepared to develop and draw on a broad knowledge of aeronautical engineering. Your key qualities will be great people skills, leadership potential and the motivation to take on real responsibility early in your career.

Air Force Engineering Officers are employed in a wide variety of roles across the RNZAF Bases and Headquarters. Your diverse career path may see you managing engineering projects, investigating component failures, designing upgrades and deploying with an operational squadron.

You will change to a new role every 2 to 3 years to ensure you gain the breadth of experience required to be a leader in the engineering field.

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 have developed with the Air Force.

Your introduction to the Air Force will be the Initial Officer Training Course (IOTC). This will teach you the core skills required to be an Officer in the military – personal drive, team work and leadership. 

On completion of IOTC you will be posted to a squadron as a Junior Engineering Officer to develop an understanding of the role of an Engineering Officer. You will then undertake General Engineering Officer Training Course (GEOTC) at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, near Blenheim. The GEOTC covers aspects of aircraft engineering and maintenance, including aerodynamics, principles of flight, structures, avionics systems and the fundamentals of airworthiness.

The Air Force is committed to continuous professional development and fully supports our Engineering Officers to become Chartered Engineers. Further into your career there will be opportunities to study at Masters Level, mainly in the United Kingdom, specialising in Thermodynamics & Propulsion, Aerospace Vehicle Design and Avionics Design.

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.

While undertaking IOTC you will be paid as a Recruit (see pay table). On completion of IOTC you will be paid as a Pilot Officer and your pay will continue to increase as your career progresses.

  • 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 applicants need to hold or be in their final year of a BE(Hons) or BEngTech, specialising in mechanical, electrical, electronics, mechatronics or aeronautical engineering.

Other related specialisations not listed here will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Graduate Incentive Scheme (GIS)

Engineering graduates and final year students are eligible for the GIS. In addition to your normal salary, you will receive an annual payment spread over four years, that amount to be determined in an Offer of Service. There is no minimum time to serve or return of service incurred.

The minimum educational requirement to apply for GIS is to hold or be the final year of a BE(Hons) or BEngTech. The GIS will be awarded to selected Direct Entry applicants on a competitive basis.

Royal New Zealand Air Force Undergraduate Scheme (RUS)

RUS is available to Undergraduate and Year 13 students. The Air Force will fund your engineering studies and provide an annual living allowance on a ‘year for a year’ return of service basis.

The minimum educational requirement to apply for RUS is University Entrance with 18 credits in both NCEA Level 3 Physics and Calculus. Successful applicants must study or continue studying a BE(Hons) in an approved specialisation.

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

Upon successful enlistment into the Air Force you’ll be posted to RNZAF Woodbourne base to complete the Joint Officer Induction Course (JOIC) – a seven-week, full-time course.

All NZ Defence Force (NZDF) Officer Cadets are required to complete this course which is designed to introduce the basic individual military skills required to continue on to your respective service Officer training courses. The course is designed to give you a basic level of military skills including field-craft, weapon handling, navigation, drill, battle-craft, communications and an introduction to leadership. It is during JOIC that you will be introduced to the standards and discipline demanded of all members of the NZ Defence Force and the ethos and values required to be an Officer in the NZDF.

Upon successful completion of the JOIC, you will remain at Woodbourne but be posted to the Initial Officer Training Course to commence the 22 week course starting in either January or July. Here you’ll find out if you’ve got what it takes to be in the Air Force, and 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 your Initial Officer Training Course, to prepare you for your role as an RNZAF Engineering officer you will attend a course at Woodbourne designed to give you a wealth of knowledge on the technical aspects of aircraft systems. Topics covered range from aircraft materials, design and construction and aerodynamics to propulsion, fuel, hydraulics, weapons, instruments, navigation, radar, communications and electrical power distribution. It also covers Air Force technical administration and procedures, a visit to all our bases to view the engineering facilities, and an aircraft maintenance phase for lessons in jacking, towing, engine running and other day-to-day tasks for a flying or engineering squadron.

There are also two advanced training courses at the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College at Trentham Military Camp (Wellington). Both courses comprise a mixture of visiting lecturers, tutored discussion groups, visits and individual study to give you the skills you need to progress your career.

As well as the courses listed above, at some stage during your career you will be required to complete a Flight Commanders Course. This course lasts two weeks at RNZAF Base Woodbourne and continues your training in command, leadership and management. To become a Flight Commander, all officers are required to complete further courses covering service writing, staff skills and professional military education before being eligible for promotion beyond Flight Lieutenant.

Woodbourne, near Blenheim.