Areas of Practice

Learn about engineering disciplines and the NER.

Engineering Areas of Practice

An Area of Practice is a subgroup of the engineering profession that practitioners align their skills and work activities with. Formal education, informal education and work experience will influence how an engineering practitioner identifies with an Area of Practice. NER registrants can seek to become registered in one or more Area of Practice. There are 12 general areas of practice and 14 special areas of practice. For a guide to the areas of practice, click here.

General Areas of Practice

General areas of practice are open to those wishing to be registered on the NER with a minimum of 5 years of experience and to those seeking Chartered:

Aerospace engineering is the field of engineering concerned with the development of aircraft and spacecraft. The purpose of aerospace engineering is to achieve optimal integrated aerospace systems.

Biomedical Engineering is the combination of design and problem-solving engineering skills in applying engineering principles and design concepts to medicine and biology for healthcare purposes.

Chemical engineering applies physical sciences (physics and chemistry) and life sciences (microbiology and biochemistry), together with applied mathematics and economics to produce, transform, transport, and properly use chemicals, materials and energy.

Civil engineering deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment. Civil engineers generally specialise in one of a number of sub-disciplines.

Electrical engineering encompasses electricity generation, transmission, distribution, electrical equipment manufacture, instrumentation and control systems.

Environmental engineering creates innovative solutions for sustainable development. It is a very broad field in which there are new applications and adaptations of all the traditional disciplines of engineering.

Geotechnical Engineering deals with the mechanics of soil and rock and its applications to engineering elements. It deals with the analysis, design and construction of man-made structures or systems that are made of or are supported by soil or rock. They identify, design and implement practical solutions to engineering problems concerning soil, rock and groundwater. They apply scientific and engineering techniques to predict and manage the behaviour of the ground where it interacts with or responds to human activity.

Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) applies scientific and engineering design to develop computer modelling tools, broadband capability, improve telecommunications systems, hardware and software, systems for media broadcasting and sound, and sophisticated electronics.

Mechanical Engineering applies the principles of engineering and physics with the study of advanced materials for the design, analysis, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems.

Mechatronics Engineering is multidisciplinary and deals with integrating electrical and mechanical systems. It can include a combination of robotics, electronics, computing, telecommunications, systems, control, product engineering, and electronics to create functional, smart products.

Structural engineering draws on engineering skills to understand, predict, and calculate the stability, strength and rigidity of built structures. Structures can include buildings, bridges, in-ground structures, footings, frameworks and space frames, including those for motor vehicles, space vehicles, ships, aeroplanes and cranes.

Subsea Engineering deals with the design, construction, installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of equipment in the ocean or on the seabed. Subsea engineers are engaged in managing activities throughout the asset lifecycle within various industries such as upstream oil and gas, marine/maritime and renewables. https://www.sut.org/branch/australia-perth/subsea-engineering/ 

Special Areas of Practice

Special areas of practice are open only to those who are Chartered. For details on any of the specific requirements to be met for the special areas of practice, contact the Registration Team via Member Services.

Amusement Rides and Devices Engineering requires specific competencies to carry out inspections. You need to be a Professional Engineer or an Engineering Technologist to register on the NER or become Chartered in this area of practice.

Asset management deals with the lifecycle management of physical assets to meet specified outcomes and achieve the greatest return.

Building services engineering applies to the internal environmental and environmental impact of a building. Its purpose is to achieve optimal integrated building systems incorporating environmental control and safety provisions for the comfort and well-being of the occupants of the built environment.

Cost engineering is a niche discipline addressing the management of project costs and covers activities such as estimating, cost control, cost forecasting, investment appraisal, profitability analysis, project planning and scheduling.

Fire safety engineering is multidisciplinary having substantial relationships with building services, mechanical, electrical, electronics, chemical, structural and civil engineering and embraces an understanding of human behaviour. It is the application of engineering principles, rules and expert judgement based on a scientific appreciation of the fire phenomenon, of the effects of fire and of the reaction and behaviour of people.

(Additional Evidence showcasing your formal qualifications, supervised and responsible practice in Fire Safety Engineering must be provided with your application. Please contact us to discuss before selecting this Area of Practice.)

Heritage and conservation engineering is an area of practice which requires applications and adaptations of all the traditional disciplines of engineering, together with an understanding of the elementary scientific principles involved which might not be directly referenced in current practice procedures. Practitioners will need to be aware of all the phases involved in conservation and the role of other professions, such as historians, archaeologists and architects.

Leadership and Management is for engineering practitioners who hold management positions, where the majority of their day-to-day activities do not involve technical considerations.

Naval Architecture is the safe design and specification of marine vessels and structures. The Naval Architect can also be involved in, or manage, the construction, repair, refit or operation of such marine vessels and structures.

Oil and Gas pipeline engineering centres on the efficient transport of fluids. This area of practice relates only to the transmission of petroleum and gas and related fluid pipelines.

(Special application conditions apply including the completion of a Pipeline Engineer Competency Portfolio (details at https://www.apga.org.au ) Please contact us to discuss before selecting this Area of Practice.)

Petroleum engineering falls into four main sub-disciplines which are reservoir, drilling, production, and formation evaluation engineering. The focus is on achieving optimal integrated exploration, technical assessment, production and development of oil, gas and geothermal resources and reserves upstream of processing plants, refineries and power stations.

Pressure equipment design verification is the process which assures the integrity of pressure vessels, boilers, pressure piping, and gas cylinders for the stated design and operating conditions.

Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria.

Risk engineering is the application of engineering methodologies to the identification, analysis, assessment, control, and avoidance, minimisation, or elimination of unacceptable risks.

Systems engineering is interdisciplinary, drawing on engineering and engineering management, focussing on how to design and manage complex systems over a system’s lifecycle.

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