Ocean Engineer

Design, build, or improve marine vessels and equipment.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$43,000 – $144,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ocean Engineers do?

Engineers solve problems by designing, building, or altering products or processes. As an Ocean Engineer, you do all this with a focus on seawater and nearly everything it touches. When you’re an Ocean Engineer, you’ll work for oil companies, environmental agencies, universities, or the military.

There are two main categories within this field: boats and everything else. The first incorporates the vast arena of ocean vessels. These include ships, submarines, aircraft carriers, oil rigs, and battleships. On a specific type or for all these vessels, you probably specialize in one area as an Ocean Engineer. For example, you might work for the defense department, changing materials or designs to make battleships quieter. Or, maybe you specialize in improving underwater communication in submarines. Perhaps you create new emergency response systems for cruise lines. The job options within this field are nearly limitless because they are so specialized.

If you don’t want to work on boats, you might find yourself working for the government or large commercial business, but you also might work for oil conglomerates. In this position, you can work to make oil rigs safer, more productive, or more efficient. Or, you might work with the oil industry in conjunction with an environmental-type position by discovering new ways to dissolve oil after a spill.

Other environmental positions focus on research, like ways to turn salt water into fresh water, or convert waves into electric power.

Regardless of your contribution to the field, your vast understanding of the ocean’s chemical components, tides, currents, and temperature allows you to research and experiment with new designs for the processes and vessels used at sea.

Should I be an Ocean Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • How to become an Ocean Engineer

    Most Ocean Engineers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:adb9lc&chl=|certificate+%284%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2877%25%29|master%27s+%2814%25%29|doctorate+%283%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,77
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