Aerospace Engineering Officer
Aerospace Engineering Officers are responsible for all aspects of the engineering, maintenance and management of military aircraft; and all of their support equipment and facilities during military operations.
The responsibilities of the Aerospace Engineering Officer are to:
- Manage and supervise the personnel and resources required for the servicing, inspection and repair of aircraft
- Oversee designing, developing and testing new systems and modifying existing ones or for conducting the life cycle management of aircraft and air weapon systems
- Participate in the formulation of plans, policies, standards and specifications for present and future military aircraft and their support equipment and facilities
- Provide technical advice on aircraft operation
Work will vary depending on the type of employment and environment. Initially, Aerospace Engineering Officers are employed at a flying unit as either an Aircraft Servicing Officer, an Aircraft Repair Officer, an Avionics Support Officer or an Engineering Support Officer.
Pay and career development
The starting salary for a fully trained Aerospace Engineering Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Captain, their salary is approximately $74,000 per year.
Related civilian occupations
- Aerospace Engineer
- Engineering Project Manager
Basic military officer qualification
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 15 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.
The training program ensures that Aerospace Engineering Officers become familiar with the operations of an air wing and the duties of the position. This training also provides practical experience by working with aircraft maintenance technicians and supervisors, and allows them to become familiar with maintenance operations on individual aircraft types.
Initially, Aerospace Engineering Officers attend the one-week Orientation Course, which introduces them to the aircraft operations branch, the occupation and the fundamentals of safety when working around aircraft. Each summer, they attend one of three practical phases ranging from eight to 11 weeks in duration. Upon graduation, Aerospace Engineering Officers attend a six-month basic course conducted in English or French at the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering in Borden, Ontario. This course combines theoretical and practical exercises and covers leadership, management and business skills on top of the core aeronautical fundamentals including operations, maintenance and safety.
Aerospace Engineering Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Administrative and management skills
- Graduate training in engineering
If you already have a Bachelor of Engineering or a university degree in applied sciences, computer science, engineering management or space sciences, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Regular Officer Training Plan
Because this position requires a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working with the CAF for a period of time.
Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the CAF is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program. Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the CAF and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, see Paid education.
This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Air Force
Serve with the Reserve Force
This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with an Air Force wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Aerospace Engineering Officers employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at CAF bases and tactical units at locations within Canada.
Reserve Force training
This occupation is only open to members of the Regular Force who have the Aerospace Engineering Officer qualification and wish to transfer to the Reserve Force, or former military members who have a current Aerospace Engineering Officer qualification.
Air Reserve members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts and are employed in the same unit and perform the same job. Air Reserve members usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day, with opportunities to serve full time for short durations as needed. Reserve Force members are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.
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