Marine engineers and naval architects design, build, and maintain ships from aircraft carriers to submarines, from sailboats to tankers. Marine engineers are primarily responsible for the internal systems of a ship, such as propulsion, electrical, refrigeration, and steering. Naval architects are primarily responsible for the ship design, including the form, structure, and stability of hulls.
Marine engineers and naval architects held about 8,300 jobs in 2014. They typically work in offices, where they have access to computer software and other tools necessary for analyzing projects and designing solutions. Sometimes, they must go to sea on ships to test or maintain the ships that they have designed or built.
Marine engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, marine systems engineering, or marine engineering technology, and naval architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture. Employers also value practical experience, so cooperative education programs, which provide college credit for structured job experience, are valuable.
The median annual wage for marine engineers and naval architects was $93,110 in May 2015.
Employment of marine engineers and naval architects is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. The need to design environmentally-friendly ships and systems to transport energy products, such as liquefied natural gas, across the globe will help to spur employment growth for this occupation.
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Learn more about marine engineers and naval architects by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.