Oceanographers are geoscientists who are specialized in the study of oceans and their coastal waters.
In addition, they are also highly experienced in studying marine life living within oceans as well as climate and weather.
These professionals use their knowledge in these areas in order to protect marine wildlife and to predict the earth’s activities such as weather patterns and plate tectonic movements.
Individuals who want to become an Oceanographer will need a passion for wildlife and protecting the environment.
Oceanographers may specialize in an area and work remotely in the field gathering samples for laboratory review or work in a laboratory analyzing samples taken from the ocean.
Education Requirements to Become an Oceanographer
Individuals who want to become an Oceanographer will need a combination of personal characteristics and a postsecondary degree in order to enter this profession.
In addition, individuals who complete a master’s degree have better job prospects.
Individuals will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to become an Oceanographer.
Individuals with a bachelor’s degree most commonly qualify for entry level positions.
A focus in geosciences is highly recommended, however, employers will also seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree in the following areas and some coursework in geology: mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry or engineering.
The majority of individuals who become an Oceanographer pursue a master’s degree.
These individuals also tend to have better job prospects in this field because of their graduate degrees.
Typical Geoscience programs include coursework in geology and its specializations such as: structural geology, petrology and mineralogy.
In addition to a focus in geology, individuals will also gain an understanding of physical sciences, engineering, mathematics and computer science.
Individuals must have an in depth understanding of specific software that enables to document laboratory research.
Individuals pursuing a bachelor’s or a master’s degree are highly encouraged to gain laboratory and field experience in the geosciences field while they are attending their programs.
This type of experience will help students have better job prospects once they are finished with their programs.
A special focus in computer software will help individuals stand out amongst other candidates.
Individuals may also pursue a graduate PhD degree in geosciences.
A graduate degree in this focus will allow individuals to apply for more advanced opportunities such as researching and college instruction positions.
Individuals with a PhD in geosciences will be able to apply for teaching positions at the college level and for research positions in oceanography.
The analysis will be used to write scientific reports for other professionals in the field.
Oceanographer Job Description
Oceanographers are experienced in studying the ocean, its coastal waters and living organisms within.
Some individuals focus their work in the field gathering data and samples from the ocean while others may focus their work on studying the samples and data gathered from field workers.
Some individuals may also do a combination of both laboratory and field work.
Field work includes the planning and collecting of samples, data and surveys from observational work done out in the field.
Some data collection may include gathering images of the environment from the ocean.
Once enough data has been collected, it will be taken to a laboratory for analysis.
Oceanographer Salary and Career Path
In 2012, the median salary for Geoscientists, which includes the Oceanography profession, was approximately $90,890 per year.
Exact annual wages will depend on a variety of factors including level of experience and the industry an individual works in.
For example, individuals who work for the federal government should expect a median salary of approximately $94,830 per year while those who work for a state government can expect a median annual wage of approximately $62,030.
The job outlook for all geoscientists, which includes Oceanographers, is expected to grow at a faster than average rate.
Job opportunities in these professions are predicted to grow by 16 percent through the year 2022, a much faster than average growth when compared to other professions.
This growth is attributed to the demand by individuals to focus on environmental protection and responsible use of the earth’s resources.
Individuals who have attained a master’s degree have better job prospects due to their level of education and experience researching.
Individuals pursuing a career as an Oceanographer will have an interest in the sciences, especially the geosciences in which their work may be used to improve the quality of life for oceanic species.
Their work may also help the public understand how a normal ocean should perform and help raise awareness for its preservation.