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Marine Engineering Degree

In order to pursue a career in this profession an individual must have at least a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering as well as some practical experience in the field. For those who are looking to improve their job prospects and take on top-tier positions in the field, a graduate degree in marine engineering will be highly beneficial.

If you want to learn more about marine engineering as a profession and what requirements you need to satisfy in order to become a marine engineer, read on.

What is marine engineering?

Marine engineering is a field which involves utilizing the principles of engineering in the design, production, development, and maintenance of marine vessels and oceanographic technology. Professionals in this field build and maintain seafaring vessels such as boats, submarines, etc. They are also responsible for the internal systems of a ship including its steering, propulsion, electrical work, refrigeration, and more.

Some of the job duties of a marine engineer include:

  • Design and install marine equipment
  • Oversee testing of new marine equipment
  • Repair and replace equipment on ships
  • Carry out inspections of marine equipment and machinery to ensure that they are up to standard
  • Prepare detailed system layouts, schematics, and drawings
  • Coordinate with regulatory bodies to make sure all repairs and alterations made to machinery and vessels is done safely and according to standard
  • Prepare technical repots of their work for use by managers, other engineers, or sales personnel
  • Create detailed construction breakdowns highlighting costs, specifications, and design timetables

How to become a marine engineer

If you are looking to pursue a career in marine engineering, you will need to satisfy certain criteria in terms of your educational qualifications. Most employers typically require applicants to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering or a related field in order to apply for a job.

If you are interested in enhancing your job prospects or seeking out top tier jobs in the industry, you will need to have an advanced degree in the field such as a master’s degree.

In general, these are the steps that you should consider taking in order to pursue a career as a marine engineer:  

Steps to become a marine engineer:

1. Get an undergraduate degree in marine engineering or a related field  

2. Get a master’s degree in marine engineering or a related field 

4. Get relevant training and experience in the field

Bachelor’s degree in marine engineering

At the undergraduate level, those seeking to become marine engineers can enroll in the following degrees:

  • Marine Engineering
  • Marine Engineering Technology
  • Marine Systems Engineering

For many employers in this field, co-op, or cooperative education programs which offer students invaluable practical hands on experience are very important. These programs often provide college credits and excellent job experience to individuals just starting out in marine engineering. For this reason, students are advised to seek out co-op programs where available.

Degree

Duration

Some of the courses offered

Bachelor’s degree in marine engineering or a related field 

4 years

  • Advanced physics
  • Calculus
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Computer design
  • Mechanics of materials
  • Ship hull strength
  • Ship design
  • Fluid propulsion

Some undergraduate programs may also offer students the chance to spend a certain amount of time out at sea in order to get hands on experience. Furthermore, most marine engineering programs in the United States are accredited by ABET.

Master’s degree in marine engineering

At the graduate level, students have two options: they can either find a master’s program in marine engineering or enroll in a Master of Business Administration (MBA). A graduate degree isn’t strictly speaking necessary in the field of marine engineering. It can however improve your job prospects and enable you to take on managerial and administrative positions.

Degree

Duration

Some of the courses offered

Master’s degree in marine engineering  

2 years

  • Applied Thermodynamics and Turbomachinery
  • Electrical propulsion and power systems
  • Materials and fatigue
  • Heat transfer and systems
  • Advanced computer applications in engineering
  • Ship design 

Career Prospects and Salary

According to career data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marine engineers and naval architects work in a lucrative field. As of May 2015, these professionals earned an annual median salary of $93,110 per year which translates into $44.76 per hour.

In terms of the job outlook between 2014-24, marine engineering and naval architecture is supposed to see a 9% change in employment. This works out to be employment change of roughly 700 new jobs. It is to be noted that this growth rate is faster than the average rate of growth for most professions which is 7%.

Furthermore, there are certain industries in which these professionals typically seek employment. According to BLS, these are the top five places of employment for marine engineers and naval architects and the annual median salary they earned:

Industry

Annual Median Salary

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

$123,120

Federal government, excluding postal service   

$98,000

Engineering services      

$92,050

Water transportation    

$88,900

Ship and boat building  

$88,690

These are professionals which most often work full-time jobs. Marine engineers can typically work either at sea or on shore and where they work will determine their working schedule.

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