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Coastal engineer

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Summary of occupation

Coastal engineers research and develop technologies and techniques for coastal, estuary and river systems. They will need to evaluate the environmental impacts of the project and work with other experts to complete the project. They will need to write reports about the project and may need to communicate and inform a wide variety of people including the public, managers, government departments and other professionals.

ANZSCO description: Coastal engineers study coastal and river systems, and are involved in protection and erosion work. They design coastal structures such as beaches, sea walls, marinas and ports, and assess the environmental effects these developments may have
Alternative names: Engineer (Coastal), Engineer (Marine)
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

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.
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

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.

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Tools and technologies

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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

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.

Related courses

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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.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

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.

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