Naval Architecture Career Information and Education Requirements

Sep 09, 2019

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.

Naval architects often work directly for the boating industry, such as for boat builders, or can work for engineering firms. A bachelor's degree is the minimum education required for naval architects to get entry positions, but master's degree and doctoral degree programs are also available.

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 (2018-2028) 9%*
Median Salary (2018) $92,560 (marine engineers and naval architects)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Naval Architects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the median annual salary for marine engineers and naval architects was $92,560 in May 2018. 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.

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.

Naval architects combine engineering, physics, and materials science to design marine craft. A degree program in naval architecture or marine engineering from an accredited school is the first step to becoming a naval architect. These programs include courses in marine materials, ocean safety theory, and marine design, to name a few.

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