How To Become An Oceanographer
Career Video: Oceanographer
Oceanography is the study of the ocean. This branch of science includes everything about the oceans, including the ocean currents and waves; the topography of the ocean floor and plates; the chemical properties of the water within the oceans themselves; the species that live in the ocean; and other areas. Oceanographers play an important role in helping people understand the oceans and keeping them in healthy condition. This is a good career choice for somebody who is fascinated by the oceans, loves science and doing research, and wants to work outdoors.
Why Become An Oceanographer
Oceanographers study many different aspects of the ocean. Their research may involve studying the acidity and chemistry of the water within the ocean, the topography of the ocean floor; the tides and waves of the ocean, or the species that live within the oceans. There are many different pathways that an oceanographer can take within this field. There are various opportunities for research.
An oceanographer has many responsibilities. They spend time on a research vessel out on the ocean or sea. Here is where they spend time diving in the ocean, collecting specimens for further research. They use highly specialized equipment onboard the ship to help them receive information about the ocean itself. Once back at the laboratory, they conduct tests on the samples they collected. They may make charts or maps. They prepare reports and scientific papers to help others understand their findings. They may go to scientific conferences, presenting their findings to colleagues, and network with others in their field.
Oceans are an important part of the world’s ecosystem. Healthy oceans are important to maintaining a healthy planet. Oceanographers study the oceans, and educate others on what we can do to fight the effects of global climate change, overpopulation, and overfishing.
Oceanographers must possess the following qualities and skills:
- Loves Science
- Enjoys Outdoors
- Great at Research
- Detail Oriented
- Critical Thinker
- Problem Solver
Oceanographer Work Environment
Fieldwork is an important aspect of this career. Oceanographers often work on boats and research vessels, out on the ocean or sea. They travel to the ocean, where they are able to directly study the objects of their research. This job often involves diving within the ocean, in order to collect samples of water, to run experiments, and take data.
An oceanographer must feel comfortable working on an ocean vessel. When they are not doing fieldwork, they are working in their laboratory with a group of other scientists. This work involves analyzing the data they have collected, using computer software, and writing reports about their findings.
The median annual salary for oceanographers was $89,780 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Like many occupations, the salary for oceanographers is dependent on what industry a person is employed in. Those who work for the federal government may earn significantly more money. Those who choose to work in universities as professors, on average, earn a lower salary. Oceanographers who have additional years of experience or certifications may be in the position to earn a higher salary than somebody just starting in their career. These are just a few things that will affect salary.
Oceanographer Career Outlook
Employment for geoscientists is expected to grow by 10 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is slightly more growth than average compared to other occupations in the United States. This category includes oceanographers.
There is an increased interest in environmentalism. Although there is much we have explored within our oceans, there is still much that needs to be discovered. The oceans help play an important part in our ecosystem. Oceanographers can help us to understand the oceans and the species that live within them. There will be many jobs available within this career field.
If you want to become an oceanographer, read below to learn how.
Step 1: Undergraduate school. In order to become an oceanographer, you will need to earn a college degree. Choose from programs such as biology, marine biology, chemistry, geoscience, geology, or any related field. Courses in science and math are especially helpful. During this time, you will be able to decide if a career as an oceanographer is right for you. It takes four years to receive your bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Graduate school. There are few job openings available for people with just bachelor’s degrees. Most people who have jobs in this field go on to obtain a doctorate, especially if you want a job doing scientific research. Look for universities that offer graduate level programs in oceanography. These types of universities will most likely be located near coastal regions, so be prepared to move if you are not already located in these areas.
During your course of study, you will learn more about oceanography. You will do advanced research, working in the oceans. It will take an additional six years to earn a doctorate in this field.
Step 3: SCUBA Certification. It is essential that you are able to work in the oceans. You must be able to dive, collect samples, operate computers and machinery, and analyze the ocean floors. A SCUBA certification will help you with your career. Remember that this career involves being outdoors, working out on the ocean, in all kinds of weather conditions.