OCEANOGRAPHERS study the biological, chemical, geological, optical and physical characteristics of oceans and coastal waters. They study the motion and circulation of the ocean waters and their physical and chemical properties, and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather. They study the migration patterns of sea life in the ocean. They collect and identify deep-sea marine organisms. They study and map the ocean floor. They measure the thickness of deposits on the ocean floor, and the rock layers in ocean faults to look for earthquake hazards. They investigate how pollution affects the chemistry of the ocean.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $76,000 average per year ($36.50 per hour)
- A medium occupation (30,800 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.8% per year)
OCEANOGRAPHERS with a bachelor's degree may qualify for some entry-level jobs. A master's degree is required for most entry-level research positions in colleges and universities, federal agencies, and state geological surveys. A Ph.D. is necessary for most high-level research jobs. Those who have experience with computer modeling, data analysis and integration, digital mapping, remote sensing, and geographic information systems (GIS) will have the best job opportunities. Knowledge of Global Positioning System (GPS) is also a plus.