4 steps to become an engineer

At Swinburne, you’ll find engineering courses at all levels, a wide range of specialisations, plus opportunities for practical, industry experience to help unlock your dream engineering career.

1. Obtain a qualification / Apply to an engineering course

The 4-year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree is the best way to join the profession as a fully-qualified engineer.

If you don't meet the entry requirements for the bachelor degree, complete a Diploma of Engineering (UniLink) first. This 8-month course can help you pathway directly into the second year of your degree. 

With a duration of 2 years, the Associate Degree of Engineering allows you to work as an associate or assistant engineer. It can also pathway into an engineering bachelor degree.

Already have a bachelor degree and want to accelerate your career? Postgraduate qualifications are regarded highly in this profession. A Master of Engineering Practice (1 year) or Master of Professional Engineering (2 years) could boost your technical and management skills, and grow your network. 

If you have other commitments and want to see if postgraduate study is for you, start your journey with a 6-month long Graduate Certificate of Engineering  Decide if you want to pathway into a master degree after. 

2. Choose your engineering specialisation

Studying the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

This degree offers eight different majors:

  • architectural engineering
  • biomedical engineering 
  • civil engineering
  • electrical and electronic engineering 
  • mechanical engineering 
  • product design engineering 
  • robotics and mechatronics engineering 
  • software engineering.

Good to know - our engineering degree has a common first year, You'll study core units while deciding on a major, which you only have to declare in second year. 

Studying the Associate Degree of Engineering 

Select one of three specialisations:

  • civil
  • mechanical
  • mechatronics
  • electrical

Studying the Graduate Certificate of Engineering

Select one of six specialisations:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • civil engineering
  • electrical and electronic engineering 
  • mechanical engineering
  • network systems and telecommunications 
  • structural engineering.

Studying the Master of Engineering Practice

Select one of these seven specialisations:

  • advanced manufacturing 
  • civil
  • electrical
  • electronics and telecommunications 
  • Industry 4.0 and automation
  • mechanical
  • structural.

Studying the Master of Professional Engineering

Select one of six specialisations:

  • civil and structural engineering
  • construction engineering management
  • electrical and electronic engineering 
  • engineering management 
  • mechanical and production engineering
  • renewable energy.

3. Gain experience

Engineering is a practical career, so we'll start you on the right foot with real-world experience included in your course. We even guarantee it in every bachelor degree

  • Work on a different industry project every single semester, from the first year of your engineering bachelor degree.

Your other options: 

  • Upgrade your Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree with a paid, full-time 6-or 12-month placement. 
  • Start CV-building with a part-time internship (postgraduate students can do this too).
  • As a postgraduate student, work on industry-linked projects which could be real briefs from clients in industry or community.

Swinburne also guarantees industry immersion for all vocational students, including those studying an associate degree. Engage in real-world problem-solving alongside industry, teachers and peers in the Future of Work Lab.

Go beyond! Join Team Swinburne Formula SAE and help design, build and race electric cars. Or be the change with Engineers Without Borders. Future employers will love any extra effort you make to gain experience.

4. Join an industry association

Our degrees are professionally accredited by Engineers Australia, the profession's peak body. Which means you can apply for membership:

Explore our engineering courses

Want to head straight to our list of engineering courses and pathways for more detail?

Browse engineering courses

How long will it take to become an engineer?

Engineers are required to complete a 4-year degree, which commonly consists of three years of undergraduate study and one year of honours. Getting work experience while you’re studying is strongly encouraged. 

Quick facts about engineering

Average salary


Job growth

10.5% more jobs by 2026

Job satisfaction


What skills do you need to become an engineer?

Technical skills:

  • understanding of manufacturing processes 
  • robotics and programming 
  • data interpretation
  • equipment diagnosis
  • quality control.

Soft skills:

  • troubleshooting
  • effective communication
  • project management 
  • analytically minded 
  • attention to detail.

Study engineering at Swinburne

Swinburne’s engineering courses put practical learning first, focussing on the skills that industry demands of graduates, preparing you for the career you want.

Courses and study pathways


8-24 months or part-time equivalent 

Entry requirements:

Successful completion of VCE , other TAFE course, or similar. 

Career outcomes:
  • engineering officer 
  • associate engineer
  • assistant engineer.

Recommended courses:

If you intend to continue with an engineering degree:

Diploma of Engineering (Unilink)

Qualifies you to work in associate-level engineering roles or continue with an engineering degree:

Associate Degree of Engineering (Unilink)


4 years or part-time equivalent

Entry requirements:

Successful completion of VCE, relevant Unilink diploma, TAFE course or similar. 

Career outcomes:
  • architectural engineer
  • software engineer
  • civil engineer
  • electrical engineer
  • industrial engineer
  • mechanical engineer
  • robotics and mechatronics engineer
  • product design engineer.
Professional recognition:

This course is accredited by Engineers Australia. 

Recommended courses:


1-2 years or part-time equivalent

Entry requirements:

Successful completion of a recognised bachelor’s degree or graduate certificate

Career outcomes:
  • engineering project manager 
  • engineering manager.
Recommended options:

Why study engineering at Swinburne?

  • One industry project every semester!

    Studying the bachelor degree? Work on a total of 8 industry-linked projects over the duration of your engineering degree—an amazing amount of real industry experience and case studies for your CV. 

  • Learn from practising engineers

    Many of your lecturers and tutors continue to work in the exact field they teach. Learn everything current there is to know about the industry.

  • Unrivalled tech and labs

    Home of Australia’s first Trimble Technology Lab, where you could be learning about new digital tech applications in engineering. Our Smart Structures Lab is the only Australian lab that does large-scale testing of materials for infrastructure systems. Plus, many more.

Frequently asked questions

Engineers need both hard and soft skills to ensure their ongoing success. 

Hard skills include mastery of relevant software, mathematical ability, logic, as well as other technical skills relevant to their specialisation. 

Key soft skills are lateral thinking, problem-solving, project management and effective communication.

The great thing about Swinburne's Bachelor or Engineering (Honours) is that you have all of your first year to decide. 

Your first-year units will allow you to explore the different specialisations available so that you're ready to land on one in second year. 

The specialisations available are: 

  • Architectural engineering 
  • Biomedical engineering 
  • Civil engineering 
  • Electrical and electronic engineering 
  • Mechanical engineering 
  • Product design engineering 
  • Robotics and mechatronics engineering 
  • Software engineering

Yes! if you're in year 12, consider our Early Entry program. You don't need to meet the Bachelor or Engineering (Honours) ATAR requirement as long as you fulfill these alternative criteria: 

  • VCE units 3&4
  • Minimum study score of 25 in English 
  • Minumum study score of 20 in either Mathematical Methods or Specialist Mathematics

The Guaranteed Entry scorefor the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) 2023 intake is 75.

Explore all engineering courses

Our course guide has the details you want.

Download a guide now