Ocean engineers work closely with oceanographers or marine biologists to design equipment needed for marine research. To gain the required skills, they typically earn a bachelors degree in engineering, and may also pursue graduate studies. This is a good field to consider if you have a strong math and science background, and interest in collaborative research.
Ocean engineers use their knowledge and skills to design equipment that helps advance the study of oceanography, marine biology and life-saving technology. Ocean engineers need a bachelors degree and experience in basic engineering. They must understand the many related natural resources found within the ocean, such as oil, natural gas and oxygen. Their jobs may require travel and work in uncomfortable, or even dangerous, conditions.
Department of Ocean Engineering
What does an ocean engineer do?
Ocean engineers collaborate with marine engineers, biologists and oceanographers to create tools to help advance ocean research and solve technological challenges regarding oceans. Their primary duties can include:
What is an ocean engineer?
Ocean engineers create technical solutions to problems related to the ocean through the study and design of technology to aid the advancement of marine biology and the optimization of man-made ocean systems. These engineering professionals combine technology, engineering and natural science to help humans coexist with and benefit from the use of the ocean and its creatures.
How to become an ocean engineer
A career as an ocean engineer can be very rewarding for those who are interested in both engineering and natural science. Ocean engineers usually specialize in one area such as oil mining or naval technology to help improve profit and decrease the impact human ocean systems have on the environment. If you are interested in becoming an ocean engineer, consider following these steps:
1. Earn a bachelors degree
Most ocean engineers have a bachelors degree in ocean engineering or naval architecture from an accredited school or university. A bachelors degree typically requires 4 years to complete. Ocean engineering degree programs focus on a multidisciplinary study of the ocean environment and engineering, and can include courses on materials engineering, fluid dynamics, hydromechanics and offshore structures. Naval architecture covers similar topics, but with a focus on the design and construction of ships, boats and other ocean structures. Other engineering majors like civil engineering, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering may also give you a good technical background for this position.
2. Consider a graduate degree
After earning a bachelors degree, some professionals choose to continue their education to specify their focus as ocean engineers, especially if their undergraduate major was in a more general engineering field. For example, some ocean engineers work closely with regulating and studying oil fields in order to minimize their impact on the ocean environment, while other ocean engineers may focus on beach preservation or the design of floating ocean structures. Though many employers do not require candidates to have a graduate degree, continuing your education may give you an advantage over your peers during the application process.
3. Obtain a TWIC card
The United States Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard issue Transportation Worker Identification Cards (TWIC) to allow professionals to have access to areas, buildings and naval structures that usually dont allow civilians. Because ocean engineers often have to travel for their job and need to have access to these areas, many employers prefer candidates who can obtain a TWIC.
The TSA and Coast Guard require at least two documents or other means of identification and background and drug tests to apply for a TWIC card, which expires unless its renewed every five years.
4. Get experience
Consider accepting entry-level positions or internships in order to build your experience level and professional network. Energy companies, transportation companies and government agencies sometimes offer internships in the ocean engineering field. An internship may help you advance within the company or enhance your resume for other employment opportunities.
Frequently asked questions
If you are considering pursuing a career as an ocean engineer, it may be helpful to learn the answers to these frequently asked questions:
What is an ocean engineers work environment like?
Ocean engineers can work for government agencies, private industries, defense contractors and consulting firms. These professionals often travel for their work and visit facilities and naval bases near and in the ocean. Ocean engineers may travel extensively by sea or air to research and reach work sites, but they also work in an office setting to analyze data, work with design software and complete research.
What skills do you need to be an engineer?
Engineers need a combination of technical and soft skills. Here is a list of skills an ocean engineer may need:
How much do ocean engineers earn?
What is the job outlook for ocean engineers?
What does ocean engineer do?
What is the meaning of ocean engineering?
: engineering that deals with the application of design, construction, and maintenance principles and techniques to the ocean environment.
What does it take to be an ocean engineer?
What kind of engineer works in the ocean?