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Become A Marine Engineer

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Working As A Marine Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Getting Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others
  • Make Decisions

  • $88,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Marine Engineer Do

Marine engineers and naval architects design, build, and maintain ships from aircraft carriers to submarines, from sailboats to tankers. Marine engineers are also known as marine design engineers or marine mechanical engineers, and are primarily responsible for the internal systems of a ship, such as propulsion, electrical, refrigeration, and steering. Naval architects are primarily responsible for ship design, including the form, structure, and stability of hulls.

Duties

Marine engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare system layouts and detailed drawings and schematics
  • Inspect marine equipment and machinery, and draw up work requests and job specifications
  • Conduct environmental, operational, or performance tests on marine machinery and equipment
  • Design and oversee the testing, installation, and repair of marine equipment
  • Investigate and test machinery and equipment to ensure compliance with standards
  • Coordinate activities with regulatory bodies to ensure that repairs and alterations are done safely and at minimal cost
  • Prepare technical reports for use by engineers, managers, or sales personnel
  • Prepare cost estimates, contract specifications, and design and construction schedules 
  • Maintain contact with contractors to be sure that the work is being done correctly, on schedule, and within budget

Naval architects typically do the following:

  • Study design proposals and specifications to establish basic characteristics of a ship, such as its size, weight, and speed
  • Develop sectional and waterline curves of the ship’s hull to establish the center of gravity, ideal hull form, and data on buoyancy and stability
  • Design entire ship hulls and superstructures, following safety and regulatory standards
  • Design the complete layout of ships’ interiors, including spaces for machinery and auxiliary equipment, passenger compartments, cargo space, ladder wells, and elevators
  • Confer with marine engineers to design the layout of boiler room equipment, heating and ventilation systems, refrigeration equipment, electrical distribution systems, safety systems, steering, and propulsion machinery
  • Lead teams from a variety of specialties to oversee building and testing prototypes
  • Evaluate how ships perform during trials, both in the dock and at sea, and change designs as needed to make sure that national and international standards are met

Marine engineers and naval architects apply knowledge from a range of engineering fields to the entire water vehicles’ design and production processes. Marine engineers also design and maintain offshore oil rigs and may work on alternative energy projects, such as wind turbines located offshore and tidal power.

Marine engineers and naval architects who work for ship and boat building firms design large ships such as passenger ships and cargo ships, as well as small craft such as inflatable boats and rowboats. Those who work in the federal government may design or test the designs of ships or systems for the Army, Navy, or Coast Guard.

Ship engineers, who are sometimes called marine engineers, operate or supervise the operation of the machinery on a ship. Their work differs from that of the marine engineers discussed in this profile. For more information on ship engineers, see the profile on water transportation workers.

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How To Become A Marine Engineer

Marine engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, marine systems engineering, or marine engineering technology, and naval architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture. Employers also value practical experience, so cooperative education programs, which provide college credit and job experience, are valuable.

Education

Marine engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering, marine systems engineering, or marine engineering technology, and naval architects typically need a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture. Programs typically include courses in calculus, physics, and computer-aided design. Some programs are offered at one of the six state maritime academies. Courses specific to marine engineering and naval architecture include fluid mechanics, ship hull strength, and mechanics of materials. Some marine engineers have bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering.

Students studying marine engineering and naval architecture at the maritime academies spend time at sea, usually during the summer, to gain onboard operating experience.

Programs in marine engineering, naval architecture, marine systems engineering, and marine engineering technology are accredited by ABET.

Students interested in preparing for this occupation benefit from taking high school courses in math, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; and science, such as chemistry and physics. For aspiring naval architects, drafting courses are helpful.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Marine engineers and naval architects must be able to give clear instructions and explain complex concepts when leading teams of professionals on projects.

Ingenuity. Marine engineers and naval architects must use operations analysis to create a design that will most likely perform the ship’s functions. They then employ skills of critical thinking to anticipate and correct any deficiencies before the ship is built or set to sea.

Interpersonal skills. Marine engineers and naval architects meet with clients to analyze their needs for ship systems. Engineers must be able to discuss progress with clients to keep redesign options open before the project is too far along.

Math skills. Marine engineers and naval architects use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Marine engineers must design several systems that work well together in ships. Naval architects and marine engineers are expected to solve problems for their clients. They must draw on their knowledge and experience to make effective decisions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Along with earning a bachelor’s degree, students at states’ maritime academies take an exam for a U.S. Merchant Mariner’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard. The first stage of the license is known as the 3rd Assistant Engineer’s License. With experience and further testing, a marine engineer may get a 2nd and then a 1st Assistant Engineer’s License. The highest level of licensure is known as Chief Engineer. Higher grades of licensing usually are accompanied by higher pay and more responsibilities.

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires all of the following:

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Advancement

Beginning marine engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In larger companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classrooms or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects where they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, marine engineers may advance to become technical specialists or to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Some may even become engineering managers or move into other managerial positions or sales work. In sales, an engineering background enables them to discuss technical aspects of certain kinds of engineering projects. Such knowledge is also useful in assisting clients in project planning, installation, and use. For more information, see the profiles on architectural and engineering managers and sales managers.

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Marine Engineer Career Paths

Marine Engineer
Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Engineer Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Senior Mechanical Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Engineer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer
Lead Design Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Lead Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Surveyor Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Chief Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Surveyor Field Engineer Electrical Engineer
Electrical Engineer Lead
8 Yearsyrs
Surveyor Field Engineer Senior Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Naval Architect Senior Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Lead Mechanical Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Naval Architect Structures Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Naval Architect Structures Engineer Senior Project Engineer
Project Lead Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Engineer Electrician Construction Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Contracting Engineer
Contract Project Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Building Engineer Lead Engineer
Head Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Systems Engineer Lead Systems Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Equipment Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
Field Engineer Civil Engineer Senior Civil Engineer
Project Management Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Marine Engineer?

Marine Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

81.2%

Unknown

10.9%

Female

7.9%
Ethnicity

White

56.0%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Asian

11.7%

Black or African American

11.5%

Unknown

6.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Carrier

25.0%

Spanish

25.0%

Arabic

18.8%

Russian

6.3%

Bengali

6.3%

Urdu

6.3%

Polish

6.3%

Hindi

6.3%
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Marine Engineer Education

Schools

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

14.3%

Maine Maritime Academy

13.1%

United States Merchant Marine Academy

13.1%

The Academy

10.7%

State University of New York Maritime College

6.0%

California Maritime Academy

5.4%

University of New Orleans

4.2%

Texas A&M University

3.6%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.0%

University of Phoenix

3.0%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3.0%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.0%

Stevens Institute of Technology

3.0%

Maritime Institute

2.4%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

2.4%

More Tech Institute

2.4%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

2.4%

University of South Florida

1.8%

Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne

1.8%

University of Alabama

1.8%
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Majors

Marine Engineering

27.8%

Mechanical Engineering

16.0%

Engineering

14.2%

Business

8.0%

Civil Engineering

4.2%

Engineering Technology

3.6%

Electrical Engineering

3.6%

Management

2.7%

Ocean Engineering

2.7%

Automotive Technology

2.4%

Finance

2.0%

Engineering Science

1.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.8%

Industrial Technology

1.6%

Project Management

1.6%

Systems Engineering

1.6%

Computer Science

1.3%

Fire Science And Protection

1.1%

Geology

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.5%

Other

23.3%

Masters

21.7%

Associate

8.6%

Certificate

4.9%

Doctorate

1.9%

Diploma

1.5%

License

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$88,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$55,000
Min 10%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$141,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
North Pacific Group
Highest Paying City
Green Bay, WI
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
5.2 years
How much does a Marine Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Marine Engineer in the United States is $88,583 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $55,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $141,000.

Real Marine Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Intecsea, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 30, 2014 $161,000
Marine Engineer-Rig Delivery Engineer BP America Inc. Houston, TX Aug 01, 2014 $158,600
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects GL Noble Denton, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 26, 2014 $150,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 13, 2014 $139,056
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects GL Noble Denton, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 23, 2014 $135,000
Manager, Marine Engineering Dockwise Engineering Services, LLC Houston, TX Apr 23, 2013 $135,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Braemar Technical Services, Inc. Houston, TX May 13, 2013 $130,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects EMAS-AMC Inc. Houston, TX Feb 20, 2013 $130,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Houston Offshore Engineering, LLC Houston, TX Sep 10, 2014 $127,150
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Modec International, LLC Houston, TX Jul 16, 2014 $127,150 -
$155,422
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects 2H Offshore Inc. Houston, TX Sep 09, 2013 $126,298
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects 2H Offshore Inc. Houston, TX Jan 22, 2013 $126,298
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects DET Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. Katy, TX Mar 11, 2013 $126,298
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects V Ships USA, LLC Beverly, MA Apr 02, 2014 $125,000
Senior Marine Engineer Ocean Dynamics LLC Houston, TX Feb 17, 2016 $97,750
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Sofec, Inc. Houston, TX Feb 04, 2013 $97,261 -
$110,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Sofec, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 23, 2013 $97,261 -
$110,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects SBM Atlantia, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 20, 2013 $97,261
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects FMC Technologies Houston, TX Nov 04, 2013 $97,261
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Sofec, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2013 $97,261 -
$110,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects American Bureau of Shipping Houston, TX Jan 03, 2013 $97,261
Marine Engineer North American Shipbuilding, LLC Larose, LA Jul 01, 2014 $83,949
Marine Engineer Misakee Marine LLC. Houston, TX Aug 10, 2014 $83,480
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 03, 2013 $81,000
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects DET Norske Veritas (U.S.A.), Inc. Sunrise, FL Feb 28, 2014 $80,500 -
$107,000
Marine Engineer Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers of Texas, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 15, 2015 $80,308
Marine Engineer Cotec Inc. Houston, TX Sep 29, 2015 $80,038
Marine Engineer Cotec Inc. Houston, TX Sep 30, 2015 $80,038
Marine Engineer Technology Associates, Inc. New Orleans, LA Nov 30, 2016 $80,000 -
$85,000

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Top Skills for A Marine Engineer

  1. Engine Room Equipment
  2. Diesel Engines
  3. Flight Deck
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed preventive maintenance and repair on all engine room equipment, mechanical and electrical operating systems.
  • Operate all main and auxiliary systems including pumps, boilers, Diesel engines, generators, and all associated electrical systems.
  • Maintained the safety and environmental regulations on board as well the maintenance of the safety equipment.
  • Project to refurbish electrical systems from several US Navy ships undergoing renovations.
  • Air Compressors and Oily water Separators, Water Makers.

What is it like to work as a Marine Engineer

1.0

Knows about engines repairs and maintenance

October 27, 2019 on Zippia

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Marine Engineer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Marine Engineer?

The way the engines operates and also the love of the sea.. Show More

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4.0

Marine Engineer Technician

March 8, 2019 on Zippia

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Marine Engineer.. Show More

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Solving practical problem and getting the solution instantly... Show More

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Dirtiness, due to spliage of waste liquid... Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Marine Engineers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Maryland
  3. California
  4. New York
  5. Alaska
  6. Texas
  7. Virginia
  8. Washington
  9. Louisiana
  10. Delaware
  • (245 jobs)
  • (449 jobs)
  • (3,638 jobs)
  • (917 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (1,152 jobs)
  • (1,022 jobs)
  • (627 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)

Top Marine Engineer Employers

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Marine Engineer

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