Marine Engineering Education Requirements and Career Information
Marine engineers are skilled individuals involved in the design, construction and maintenance of vehicles and structures used on or around water. Marine engineering technology and techniques are used to create cruise ships, oil platforms and harbors. Additional projects involving marine engineers include navy ships, piers and cargo ships.
Educational Requirements for Marine Engineers
Anyone interested in pursuing a career in marine engineering must complete a significant amount of education in science, technology and engineering. Degrees in marine engineering are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Bachelor's degrees in marine engineering introduce students to basic concepts of marine propulsion, fluid dynamics and ship design. Master's and doctoral degrees in marine engineering cover advanced topics in materials science, managing engineering projects and electrical power systems.
A career in marine engineering can be enhanced with an additional advanced or professional degree. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) can lead to executive and management positions in shipping, naval architecture and off-shore oil exploration. Some marine engineers capitalize on their education and experience by earning a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.), often concentrating on maritime and engineering law.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment prospects for marine engineers were expected to increase by six percent between 2008-2018, which is significantly slower than other engineering specialties (www.bls.gov). However, an increased number of retiring marine engineers are creating opportunities for students earning degrees. Employing less than 9,000 educated professionals, marine engineering is a specialty field with a limited number of practitioners in the United States.
Industries employing the most marine engineers include marine equipment and boat building companies. Marine engineers can also find employment with government agencies, marine-concentrated manufacturing companies and agriculture firms.
The high level of education and technical knowledge possessed by marine engineers is reflected in their earnings. In May 2008, the BLS reported that marine engineers earned a median annual salary worth $74,140. Marine engineers with sufficient expertise and experience earned as much as $118,630 in May 2008. More than 77% of marine engineers earned set salaries rather than an hourly wage (www.bls.gov).
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