Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer

Now hiring: we are now accepting applications for this job through paid education.

Job description

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers maintain and support all Army equipment, and the land-based equipment of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are commissioned members of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers lead the soldier technicians who keep equipment in top condition and work in every equipment life-cycle phase, from design, evaluation and acquisition through in-service support to eventual disposal. Their duties involve leading staff and providing specialized engineering knowledge. They lead a team of highly skilled technicians of the Vehicle, Weapon, Electronic-Optronic and Materials occupations.


Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer

LITTLE: Take an engineer’s curiosity, a love of the outdoors, a knack for troubleshooting, and a strong desire to serve Canada in a leadership role. Put them all together and it’s one of the most rewarding careers in the Canadian Forces.

I’m Captain Angie Little from Halifax, Nova Scotia – I’m an Electrical Mechanical Engineering Officer, currently the maintenance officer at the 12ieme Régiment Blindé du Canada, in Valcartier, Quebec.”

And I’m Captain Shaun D’Souza from Oakville, Ontario.

This is one of the most varied and fulfilling jobs in the military. You’re in command of the troops who build and maintain the most complex thermal, optical, computer and electrical systems we’ve got -- not to mention some of the coolest vehicles on and off the road.

LITTLE: Whether you’re in the Regular Force or the Reserves, being an EME Officer is like running a multi-tasking engineering firm with at least thirty, and sometimes more than two hundred employees.

D’SOUZA: It’s a manager in uniform for technicians who perform repairs and maintenance on army equipment, vehicles, weapons systems, materials and electronics or electronic systems.

LITTLE: Basically, I’m in charge of about fifty technicians spread between the four trades. We run a workshop that is attached directly to the armoured regiment. We repair their vehicles, their surveillance systems, their generators. Everything that breaks, we fix it… We deploy with them, we go on exercise with them, so we’re very much embedded into the regiment and part of the regimental life.

D’SOUZA: If you’re thinking about joining us, there are two ways to do it. Most Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers took the same path that I did, coming out of high school and studying engineering at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. That’s a world-class engineering education, paid for by the Government of Canada, in exchange for a five-year commitment to the Canadian Forces. It’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

LITTLE: Or if you already have a university degree in electrical or mechanical engineering or science, you may be eligible for Direct Entry, with an officer’s salary, benefits and pension kicking in from Day One.

D’SOUZA: Whether it’s through RMC or Direct Entry, once you complete your Basic Officer Training Course, you’ll move on to the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick, for Common Army Phase training.

LITTLE: Then you’ll head to Borden, Ontario, to the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, to learn how to lead up to a full-sized Maintenance Company with a hundred vehicles and dozens of weapons, guidance and communications systems to keep up and running.

There’s four trades within the EME branch. We’re not as officers required to be mastered in any of those four trades, but we need to have a good understanding so that we can manage our troops.

D’SOUZA: I’m also required to ensure that my technicians have the qualifications required to maintain the equipment that the Army owns. So, if I can use the term ‘career management’ a little bit loosely, that is what I would do as far as qualifications are concerned.

LITTLE: There’s no practical test when you arrive at a unit. They don’t expect you to be able to repair a vehicle. They know that they’re the ones that are going to be turning the wrenches on the floor. What they want is for you to have a strong character. They want you to make decisions and stick with them, and they want you to be open and willing to their technical expertise.

When you get a chance to deploy, whether it be on exercise or on an operation, and you see how it all fits together and the troops go and get the job done and you see the relationships between the senior NCOs and the officers, in order to manage the technicians on the ground, and it all fits together, that’s when you can sit back, take a deep breath, and just be happy that you’re part of the Canadian Forces.

Well, if you like anything hands-on, if you love the mechanical side of things and figuring out how things work, I definitely think that there’s enough diversity within the EME trade, be it vehicle tech, weapons tech, the EO techs or the materials technicians, as an officer, you get a chance to dip your hands on all four of the trades. You get a chance to really see what they do and manage the lives of people that… you’re going to find throughout Canada – no matter where there’s an army unit, we’re there. So it gives you a lot of chance for postings. It gives you the chance to travel, and it gives you a chance to, to really dig in and see how things work.


Working environment

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in different environments. Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers are employed at bases and garrisons across Canada and on deployed operations around the world. In the field or on deployment they may work outdoors.

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers are first posted generally to a large workshop, where they lead a group of up to 30 technicians who maintain a wide range of equipment. Under the guidance and supervision of more senior officers they make the technical, administrative and training decisions for their team.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer is $49,000 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 $79,000. To meet the requirements of certain specialized appointments, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers may be given opportunities for graduate education.

Related civilian occupations

  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Metallurgical and Manufacturing Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer

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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 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.

Common army phase

After basic training, you will go to the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. You will build upon the leadership training you received in basic officer training in addition to learning the skills required of all Combat Arms Soldiers, including more advanced weapons-handling, field-craft, and section-level tactics.

Professional training

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers attend the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. They build upon the leadership and other skills training they received and develop the skills required of all Army officers, including more advanced weapons-handling, field-craft and section-level tactics. They also continue the rigorous fitness-training and sports program.

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers then apply their field skills to maintenance operations and begin to apply their engineering skills to military technology. Through classroom instruction and practical work, they learn the maintenance engineering requirements of combat and special-purpose vehicles, land weapons, electronic and optronic sensors, and instrumentation and communications systems. Training also covers safe handling and storage of petroleum products and ammunition.

Throughout the final stages of training, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers learn the tactical deployment of a Maintenance Company comprising about 200 Soldier maintainers and 100 vehicles. They control and plan the workload of a maintenance organization, and to handle unit-level personnel administration.

Specialty training

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Guided Weapons System

Advanced training

As they progress in their career, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include Advanced Ammunition Engineering.

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Entry plans

Now hiring: we are now accepting applications for this job through paid education.

Direct entry

If you already have a university degree, 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.

Paid education

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 Forces 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.

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Army

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 at 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.

Part-time employment

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers serve with the Canadian Army and maintain and support all Forces land-based equipment. They lead a soldier team of highly skilled technicians and provide the team with specialized engineering knowledge. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve with military units at locations within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic officer training, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officers attend the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick and then the Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Borden, Ontario to achieve their qualification.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They 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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