Oceanography Careers

Mary Gormandy White
Is a career in oceanography right for you?

If you are interested in water and aquatic life, one of the many different types of oceanography careers might be an excellent profession for you to pursue.

Types of Oceanography Occupations

Working as a Marine Biologist

Professional marine biologists study animals and plants that live in water. Many individuals who work in this field primarily conduct field research, while others complete most of their tasks in laboratory environments. A great deal of marine biology research is strictly observational field investigation, but much of it experimental in nature.

Marine Chemist Occupations

If you're more interested in the composition of water itself than of the plant and animal life that thrives in it, a career as a marine chemist could be perfect for you. Marine chemists study things like how the oceans and seas came into being, the impact of pollution on sea life, and the chemical processes that occur in the marine environment.

If you're interested in investigating the impact of global warming on the earth's water supply and marine life, you might have an opportunity to do so as a professional marine chemist. Additionally, many chemists who specialize in oceanography also investigate ways to develop medications from within the ecosystem of the planet's bodies of water.

Physical Oceanography Careers

Individuals who work in physical oceanography study the relationship between the oceans and the atmosphere. Physical oceanographers study waves, tides, currents, beach erosion, and other factors related to the physical composition of oceans, seas, and other bodies of water. Their work often revolves around predicting or understanding weather and climate change in light of factors related to the conditions that exist within the marine environment. Other areas of study may include how light is transmitted underwater and how sound is transmitted through water.

Working as a Marine Geologist

Those who work as marine geologists study the ocean floor and the processes that led to its development and continued evolution. For example, marine geologists study and monitor volcanic processes and tectonic plate spreading that takes place beneath the world's oceans and other bodies of water. The work of marine geologists forms the basis of the body of knowledge that exists about how the oceans were formed and helps provide explanations for the relationship between bodies of water and the seafloors upon which they exist.

Marine Engineering Oceanography Careers

Those interested in improving and building devices that allow for ocean exploration may find careers in marine engineering to be very rewarding. Many engineers who specialize in the electrical, mechanic, civil, and chemical engineering fields decide to pursue careers in oceanography.

Preparing for a Career in Oceanography

If you want to enter the field of oceanography, education is a key component of ensuring that you are eligible for the types of jobs that interest you. Those who work in oceanography are scientists, and academic credentials are very important in these types of occupations.

As a minimum, it is necessary to complete an undergraduate degree in a related field to enter this profession. Graduate degrees are preferred or required for many of the best paying and most desirable oceanography careers. Click here for a partial listing of schools offering relevant educational programs.

If working in oceanography appeals to you, it's a good idea to consider pursuing studies in one or more of the following areas:

  • Marine Biology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Engineering
  • Aquaculture

Finding Career Opportunities in Oceanography

While jobs in oceanography are fairly specialized, there are numerous opportunities for qualified individuals to find employment in this field. The following resources can help you identify job openings in the occupation:

Rewarding Science Careers

If you have an aptitude for science and you love the idea of dedicating your career to studying and exploring the oceans or the plants and animals that live under water, oceanography just may be the ideal occupation for you.

Oceanography Careers