Ocean engineers apply their knowledge of the ocean environment to the design and construction of marine structures, ships and other marine vehicles. Many schools offer both undergraduate and graduate programs in ocean engineering.
Inside Ocean Engineering
Ocean engineers study the effects of the ocean on ships, vehicles and other structures. They design dams, levees, canals and complex tide abatement systems. Essentially, ocean engineering is the marine-based branch of civil engineering. It merges classical courses in civil and mechanical engineering with oceanography and naval architecture.
Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in ocean engineering. Schools that offer bachelor degrees in ocean engineering expect students to complete courses in marine structure design, oceanography, ocean systems design and engineering materials. Bachelor's degrees in ocean engineering are either a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering or a degree in civil engineering with an ocean engineering concentration.
Master's and doctoral degree programs in ocean engineering consist of independent research and fieldwork in addition to advanced engineering and marine science courses. Students can concentrate their studies in specific areas of ocean engineering, including seafloor mapping, underwater acoustics, coastal structures and underwater vehicles.
Aspiring ocean engineers can begin their education path with an undergraduate degree in ocean or civil engineering. The articles below describe these and other degree choices, as well as discussing some of the top schools for ocean engineering studies.
- Ocean Engineering Degrees
- Marine Engineering Degree Info
- Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering
- Masters Degree in Civil Engineering
- Top Schools for Ocean Engineering
Distance Learning Options
While there are no degree programs online specifically for ocean engineering, students can earn a degree in civil engineering. There are also individual oceanography courses and engineering classes available online that can contribute to a traditional ocean engineering program. The following articles discuss some options.
- Civil Engineering Bachelor Degree Online
- Online Civil Engineering Degree Programs
- Online Engineering Classes
- Oceanography Courses Online
Ocean engineers work for the government and in the private sector, where employers include the offshore oil, marine metals and marine transport industries. Other job areas are research in renewable energy, remote sensing and naval and underwater vehicles. Below is information on some career options in ocean and civil engineering.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for ocean engineers, who are included in the BLS category for civil engineers, will be 20% during the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). This is faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also reports that in May 2012, ocean engineers earned a median annual salary of $79,340.
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