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Engineer Officer

OFFICER | Full Time, Part Time

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As a member of the military, Engineer Officers help the army live, move and fight. They are members of the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers. Together with the Armour, Infantry and Artillery, Engineer Officers are an integral part of the Combat Arms.

The primary responsibility of Engineer Officers is combat readiness. Either working within Canada during an emergency or on international missions, Engineer Officers are responsible for:

  • Constructing habitable camps
  • Breaching minefields
  • Using explosives to destroy a road or bridge
  • Constructing a bridge or ferry
  • Building a combat road
  • Disposing explosives
  • Constructing obstacles

Work environment

Engineer Officers are employed at bases and stations across Canada and on deployed operations around the world. They experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with working in different environments and various terrains – Arctic tundra, tropical jungle, desert, mountains, urban complex – and various climates.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview


LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: I’m Lieutenant Ella Wanless from Belleville, Ontario — an Engineer Officer posted at 2 Combat Engineer Regiment in Petawawa, Ontario.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: We lead combat engineers and our job is to allow troops to live, move and fight while denying the same to the enemy.
Engineers help the combat arms to accomplish the mission at hand. They provide close support to the infantry and tanks, and are also trained to fight as infantry when needed. Engineering is a core component of every military mission — from removing obstacles on the battlefield, to building bridges in a foreign country.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: We are asked to do so many different tasks during a mission that your job as an Engineer Officer is to coordinate with all of your non-commissioned members to make sure that they have the tools, equipment and instructions that they need to complete all these different tasks.

Engineer Officers provide critical information and advice as troop commanders, who make key decisions on how to run military engineer operations.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: The engineers are jack-of-all-trades, so there’s a never-ending list of skills that we’re expected to have when we go to the fight, and that training allows us to be as prepared as possible for whatever comes our way.
Engineer Officers are adept problem-solvers uniquely positioned to be both technical experts and tactical military leaders.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: For me, leadership means using the skills that you have — the planning, the motivation, initiative, communication skills — to allow your troops to be able to get the job done. So it’s enabling your troops to be successful in all that they do. Engineer Officers regularly deploy as part of humanitarian missions and aid to civil power across Canada. And they support training missions around the world.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: I always wanted to be an engineer, ever since I was little. And then I found out that I could be an engineer and that the Canadian Armed Forces would support my education — and not only that, I could be an engineer that got to play with explosives. So that was something that really first drew me to this job. It’s engineering with that cool extra element of being in the Army as well.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: The coolest part of the job, I would say — for me, it’s explosives. I love getting to see my troops blow things up. For a bridge demolition, so we come up to an enemy bridge, we send out all of our sappers that are able to rig up that bridge, we set up our security, and then we get the satisfaction of watching that bridge completely disappear.

Once they’ve completed their occupational training, Engineer Officers are assigned to a unit within one of several Engineer regiments across Canada. A busy schedule consists of planning for training exercises, leading troops, and administrative work common to all officers.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: So the first few years as an Engineering Officer, you’re going to go into a troop command position. So you’re going to have about 25-30 combat engineers that are under your command. Once you move past that, you’re going to go into some sort of operations or planning position for an Engineer squadron. And you’re basically looking to support and plan and lead at the squadron level.

Engineer officers can specialize in an operations career stream that include things like combat diving, explosives, and heavy equipment operations or choose a career path in geomatics or infrastructure management.

LIEUTENANT ELLA WANLESS: I decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces because I was looking for a challenge and a job that was going to take me to places that I never thought that I could, and basically be able to serve the country that has done so much for me as well. I never regret my decision to join the Canadian Armed Forces.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Construction Engineer
  • Senior Project Manager – Construction
  • Geological Engineer
  • Mining Engineer


After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 12 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Common army phase

After basic training, you will go to the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. You will build upon the leadership training you received in basic officer training in addition to learning the skills required of all Combat Arms Soldiers, including more advanced weapons-handling, field-craft, and section-level tactics.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Engineer Officers attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. For the first two and a half months, training focuses on basic combat engineering skills and includes subjects such as:

  • Basic demolitions
  • Mine warfare
  • Obstacle construction
  • Field fortifications
  • Dismounted infantry tactics at the platoon level

It ends with a three-week field deployment where the Engineer Officer’s ability to lead a Troop is assessed. The final nine months of training concentrates on reconnaissance, planning, and Troop-level combat engineer tasks. Subjects included are:

  • Bridge building
  • Minefield construction
  • Booby-trap clearance
  • Route denial
  • Bridge demolition
  • Combat road repair and construction
  • Defensive works
  • Timber and rope field machines
  • Destruction of battlefield munitions
  • Construction of temporary camps
  • Breaching various obstacles in the face of the enemy

At the end of the last phase, during a comprehensive four-week field deployment, the skills acquired are assessed.

Engineer Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including after the first tour of duty with a first line unit, they may choose to specialize in one of the following areas:

  • Mapping and geodesic support to joint operations
  • Infrastructure engineering to both garrison and deployed installations
  • Technical engineering to support the procurement and management of equipment

Entry plans

If you already have a university degree, the Forces will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

Regular Officer Training Plan

Due to the requirement for CAF officer to obtain a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a bachelor degree program in the Royal Military College System. Recruits will receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working in the CAF for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In rare instances, based on the needs of the CAF, candidates may be approved attend another Canadian University. A determination will be made on a case by case basis. If you are applying for this program, you must apply to the CAF and it is recommended to apply to other Canadian universities of your choice should you not be accepted for ROTP.

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Army Base or armoury in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Engineer Officers serve with the Canadian Army. Their primary responsibility is combat readiness – to help the army live, move and fight. Together with the Armour, Infantry and Artillery, Engineer Officers are an integral part of the Combat Arms team. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve with Canadian Army units at locations within Canada.

Find a Recruiting Centre

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic officer training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Engineer Officers attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick for approximately one year to achieve their qualification.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.