Naval Architecture Career Information and Education Requirements

Naval architects require significant specialized formal education. Learn about the education options, job duties and salary information to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Naval architecture is a branch of engineering concentrating on the construction and design of vehicles meant for use on water. Skilled professionals with advanced technical knowledge of engineering, physics and materials science, naval architects assist in the creation of boats, submarines and other marine craft. Naval architects have an undergraduate or graduate degree in naval architecture or marine engineering. Many of these architects are licensed as well.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Additional Requirements Mariner's license is common; professional engineering licensure may be required
Projected Job Growth 10% between 2012 and 2022*
Average Salary (2013) $94,040*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Naval Architects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, naval architects earned an average annual salary of $94,040 in May 2013. States paying naval architects the highest annual salary included Maryland, the District of Columbia and Texas. Candidates for careers as naval architects, like other engineers, may need to earn and maintain licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE). Many of these professionals hold a mariner's license as well.

Employers with need for naval architects include boat builders, water transportation companies and engineering firms. Naval architects are involved in a highly mechanized and organized process that concentrates in coastal localities, such as Tampa Bay, Florida, Honolulu, Hawaii, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Cities paying naval architects the highest average annual salary in 2013 were Houston, Virginia Beach and Washington, D.C.

Education Requirements

Careers in naval architecture require either a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in naval architecture or marine engineering. These degrees are offered by a very limited number of institutions generally associated with a branch of the military or a well-endowed non-profit organization. Some state schools provide undergraduate and graduate education in naval architecture and marine engineering, but these programs tend to be located at colleges and universities in coastal regions. Individuals with degrees in civil engineering, architectural engineering and structural engineering can also pursue employment as a marine engineer or naval architect after completing additional education.

Degree Programs

Degrees in marine engineering and naval architecture cover a range of subjects in science and engineering. Courses typically associated with degrees in naval architecture include marine design, marine systems management and ocean safety theory. Marine engineering programs have students take courses in marine materials, policies of the marine industry and marine engineering management. Schools awarding degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering should hold accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

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