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Match your electives to a career in Defence

Defence Electives

What you study in Year 11 or 12 or through VET can set you up for a career in Defence. Here’s how!

Hands up who’s sat in class wondering when you’ll ever use trigonometry or apply Newton’s Laws of Motion in the future? This article is for you. Think of the following electives as the very first steps on your STEM + Defence study and career path. These subjects can kickstart your knowledge in essential areas needed for some very cool and unexpected jobs in Defence, and we’ve filled them in with some potential study paths. You’re welcome!

Study food technology

Path A

  • Study a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition Science)
  • Become a Nutritionist-Dietitian at DSTG

Path B

  • Complete a Diploma of Food Science and Technology
  • Become a Food Technologist at DSTG

Path C

  • Complete military training, the Initial Cook’s Course, plus submariner courses
    with Defence
  • Become a Navy Chef Submariner

Study mathematics

Path A

  • Complete a Certificate III in Carpentry
  • Then complete military and employment training with Defence 
  • Become an Air Force Carpenter

Path B

  • Take the recruit course
  • Then complete the combat engineer course at the School of Military Engineering and the trade training plumber course at the Army School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
  • Become an Army Plumber

Path C

  • Study a Bachelor of Mathematics or Data Analytics
  • Become a Data Analyst at DSTG

Study physics

A drone used during Exercise Autonomous Warrior, which tests autonomous systems and technologies. Image: ABIS Steven Thomson

Path A

  • Study a Bachelor of Science, majoring in physics and go on to Honours, Masters or a PhD
  • Become a Quantum Technologies Researcher at DSTG

Path B

  • Study a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Aerospace Engineering), then complete military and employment training with Defence
  • Become a Navy Aerospace Engineer

Take electrotechnology as a VET subject

Path A

  • Complete a Certificate III in Electrotechnology, then complete military and employment training with Defence
  • Become an Air Force Electrician

Path B

  • Study a Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in electrical/electronics, then complete military and employment training with Defence 
  • Become a Navy Aircraft Electronics Engineer

Study engineering

Path A

  • Study a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) or (Structural) then complete military and employment
    training with Defence
  • Become an Air Force Airfield Engineer

Path B

  • Study a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Aerospace Engineering), then complete military and employment training with Defence
  • Become an Army Aeronautical Engineer

Path C

  • Study a Bachelor of Space Science
  • Become a Satellite Engineer at DSTG

Study software design and development

Path A

  • Study a Bachelor of Cyber Security
  • Become a Cyber Security Specialist

Path B

  • Study a Bachelor of Computer Science alongside the AGO STEM Cadetship Program
  • Become a Software Engineer at Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO)

Study earth and environmental science

Defence Electives 3
Royal Australian Air Force Environmental Officer, Flight Lieutenant Chloe is deployed on Operation Accordion at the Australian Defence Force’s main operating base in the Middle East. Image: CPL Tristan Kennedy

Path A

  • Study a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Health), then complete military and employment training with Defence
  • Become an Air Force Environmental Health Manager

Path B

  • Complete military training, then take the following courses through Defence: Basic Seamanship Course, Combined Jet RHIB Coxswain/ 4.7m Leg RHIB Course, and the Basic Hydrographic Systems Operator Course
  • Become a Navy Hydrographic Surveyor

Take information and digital technology as a VET subject

Path A

  • Study a Bachelor of Information and Communications Technology while completing the ASD Cadetship Program 
  • Become an ICT specialist for the Australian Signals Directorate

Path B

  • Study a Certificate IV in Surveying and Spatial Information Services while completing the AGO Trainee Program
  • Become a Trainee APS (Technical) Level 3 with AGO

This article was first published in Careers with STEM: Defence 2023. For more on Defence careers, head to our STEM + Defence hub!

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