An air force technician needs:
- Australian citizenship
- over the age of 17
- a passion for protecting and defending Australia and its allies
- good health and fitness
- technical and practical skills
- to enjoy the lifestyle associated with the armed forces
- the ability to follow orders
- a willingness to live and work anywhere in Australia and overseas.
Air force technicians/tradespeople encounter a range of working conditions that depend on the type of role they specialise in. For example, whilst aircraft spray painters work in workshops and aircraft hangers, avionics technicians work on board air force transport aircraft, and fitters and turners may work in a range of locations, depending on the type of work they are carrying out. Their hours also depend on the type of work they undertake.
Trainee air force technician recruits undergoing basic training can expect to earn at least $676 per week ($35 151 per year), while recruits undertaking employment training can expect to earn between $773 and $869 per week ($40 173 and $45 194 per year). Once their training period ends, an air force technician can expect to earn at least between $906 and $1 101 per week ($47 087 and $57 249 per year), depending on their duties, rank, role and level of experience.
As an air force technician gains experience and progresses through the ranks their pay rate increases. Salary may also vary based on your deployment location and conditions.
The tools and technologies used by air force technicians/tradespeople vary greatly depending on their specialised role. Whilst motor mechanics or fitters and turners are involved in the maintenance of mechanical systems, where they use a range of mechanical maintenance tools and testing systems, carpenters on the other hand use hand and power tools. All air force personnel are required to wear uniforms.
To become an air force technician within the Australian Defence Force you must pass the recruitment process and complete Basic Training at the Recruit Training Unit.
You will undergo a series of written, physical, psychological and medical checks and interviews. You will also need to provide a National Police History Check.
Successful applicants are required to complete just over 10 weeks of Basic Training at the No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU) at the RAAF Base in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
Once you have completed Basic Training you will undertake Initial Employment Training where you will receive your technical training. You may also have the opportunity to undertake additional specialist training.
The technical training varies and will prepare for your specific role within the Air Force, in areas such as aviation, electronics and telecommunications, or traditional trades. The length, location and related qualifications of this training depend on the role you will be moving into.
If you already hold an existing trade qualification, related to the trade you wish to work in, you may become an air force technician through the Qualified Entry pathway. However, specialised training may still be required.
You can join the Air Force through the ADF Gap Year program. You must be between 17 and 24 years old, and have completed year 12 (or equivalent).
You can also join the Australian Defence Force on a part time basis within the Air Force Reserves.
Visit the Defence Force Recruiting Centre website for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.