A coastal engineer needs:
- good oral and written communication skills
- to enjoy technical and engineering activities
- to be able to identify, analyse and solve problems
- to be able to act responsibly
- to be creative and practical
- to be willing to adhere to safety requirements.
A coastal engineer would usually work a normal work week. Some of this time would be spent in an office and some would be outside in various weather conditions. Occasionally they may be required to work irregular hours because of the project they are working on.
Most coastal engineers would work for government departments, for example local councils. Some coastal engineers become consultants after gaining work experience.
On average, coastal engineers, classified as engineering professionals, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a coastal engineer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Coastal engineers may need to be proficient with a wide range of engineering design and construction equipment depending on the area they are working in. They may need to be able to drive a boat and will need some basic computer skills.
To become a coastal engineer you usually need to complete a degree in engineering with a major in ocean engineering, environmental engineering, or civil engineering. After completing a Bachelor of Engineering degree you may need to complete further postgraduate studies to specialise in coastal engineering.
Most of the universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the university you are interested in 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.