Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Engineering Technicians

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Prospects are good for qualified engineering technicians. The strong economy and government investment in infrastructure and roading is increasing demand for engineering skills. There is currently a shortage of many types of engineering technicians. This occupation is also a viable option for those wanting to enter the field of engineering without doing a full degree.

How to become an engineering technician

What they do

Engineering technicians assist engineers in their work and do a variety of different tasks depending on their specialisation and specific job.

Their tasks may include:

  • preparing, interpreting, inspecting and revising drawings, plans, diagrams, designs, maps and charts
  • performing complex computations and field and laboratory tests, and recording the results
  • installing, testing, repairing and modifying electrical, electronic and mechanical equipment
  • estimating quantities and costs of materials
  • inspecting buildings, plumbing work, machines, equipment, working conditions and public places to ensure compliance with relevant laws, standards and regulations
  • planning, scheduling, coordinating and monitoring maintenance of plant equipment
  • testing materials
  • overseeing the safety of mining operations and supervising miners

Qualifications needed

To become an engineering technician you need to complete the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering. This is an academically-based qualification provided at 11 polytechnics throughout New Zealand.

Engineering technicians who wants to gain additional qualifications can then complete the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering Practice (after a few years of work experience). This covers the practical elements of the role and is gained on the job while you work. Completing a three year BEngTech bachelor’s degree is also a popular option for engineering technicians. This makes them a qualified engineering technologist.

A Diploma in Engineering is not necessary to become a draughtsperson, but it is useful. To become a civil engineering draughtsperson, ideally you need experience in a specific CAD (computer-aided design) software.

Some companies offer cadetships, where you can train on the job and study part-time towards these diplomas.

WelTec website, information on engineering:

Connexis (Infrastricture ITO)website, information on the National Diploma in Civil

Cost of study

New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Level 6)
$12,000 over two years


Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for  fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services: 


Engineering technicians can be registered as Chartered Membership (Engineering Technician) of Engineering New Zealand through the Engineering New Zealand (formerly IPENZ). This certification requires demonstrating competence to the required standard (to gain entry to the register); undertaking competence assessments at regular intervals (not exceeding six years); and complying with a Code of Ethical Conduct (to retain registration).

Engineering New Zealand: information on technician qualifications accerdited by Engineering New Zealand:

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing a New Zealand Diploma in Civil Engineering  has been steady since 2012. Electrical and electronic engineering has remained the most popular engineering discipline in recent years.

Qualification completions chart

Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2018, the average income for engineering draftspersons and technicians was estimated to be around $67,200.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

Income for an engineering technician depends on where they work and how much experience they have:

  • engineering cadets may start on the minimum wage or a little more
  • junior engineering technicians usually earn between $30,000 and $50,000 a year
  • intermediate engineering technicians usually earn between $60,000 and $80,000 a year
  • senior engineering technicians may earn up to $80,000 a year

Employment and skill shortages

Civil engineering technicians’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2021 2026
15,132 15,195 17,430 19,240
  0.1% 2.3% 1.7%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the category “Building and Engineering Technicians”.

The number of engineering technicians has increased slightly in recent years, and is expected to grow by 2.3% until 2023. Out to 2028 the growth rate will slow down.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
13% 16% 2% 81% $65,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of L5 or 6 Diploma - Civil Engineering.

Most graduates were either in employment three years after completing a Level 5 or 6 Diploma in Civil Engineering. Some were overseas, or in further study. The median salary was around $65,000.   

Many types of engineering technicians and related roles appear on Immigration New Zealand’s skill shortage lists. For example, civil engineering technicians and electrical engineering technicians are on the long term skill shortage lists. Electronic engineering technicians are also on the long term skill shortage list. Civil engineering and surveying technicians are also on the Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL). If a job appears on the list, it means the government is actively encouraging skilled people in the role to come and work in New Zealand. A full list is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Online vacancies for civil engineering draftspersons and technicians grew more quickly than the average for all occupations from 2013 to 2017. Other types of engineering technicians have also seen an increase in job ads over this period, although not as large as civil engineering technicians. The demand has started to fall in the last two years.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Engineering technician vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites, as well as the Jobs section of the Engineering New Zealand website.

Trade Me Jobs: 
Engineering New Zealand Jobs:

Career path

A common career pathway is to gain employment with a company that offers cadetships to young men or women wishing to become engineering technicians. Cadets complete their diploma while working in industry. Once cadets have finished their tertiary qualification they are often promoted into higher-level full-time positions within the company.

Cadetships are offered by a variety of organisations including engineering and construction companies, local authorities and utility companies.

Engineering technicians can progress within an engineering firm up to partner level. Some become engineering technologists by completing a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BEngTech) degree or professional engineers by completing a Bachelor of Engineering degree.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry level engineering technicians.

  • CAD Design Technician
  • Civil Engineering Technician
  • Civil Engineering Draughtsperson
  • Electrical Engineering Technician
  • Engineer
  • Heating and Ventilating Technical Officer
  • Hydraulic Controls Technician
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician
  • Relays Draftsperson
  • Road Design Draftsperson
  • Sewage Reticulation Drafting Officer
  • Structural Engineering Drafting Officer

Other information


More information on engineering technicians is available on the Careers New Zealand website and through the "Just the Job" videos.

Careers New Zealand: 
Engineering New Zealand: 
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Civil Construction
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Civil Construction
Just the Job video clip: A Career as a Civil Engineering Technician
Just the Job video clip: A Career as a Civil Laboratory Technician (JTS52010)


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of engineering technicians has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:

312 – Building and Engineering Technicians
231212 – Ship's Engineer