Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

Are you curious about a career as a Marine Engineer or Naval Architect in the United States of America? Now you can learn what Marine Engineers and Naval Architects do, the work environment, how to become one, salary, and job outlook. 

Marine Engineers and Naval Architects are responsible for the construction, maintenance, and repair of ships and submarines. These ships and submarines can be both surface vessels (like a Navy ship) or subsurface (underwater), such as a submarine. They also design vessels for other purposes, such as the US Army’s Humvee and the US Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Marine Engineers and Naval Architects are the “brain trust” behind the creation of these vessels.

This includes both engineering aspects (such as design, production, and operation of machinery and equipment) as well as architectural aspects (such as the interior and exterior layout of a vessel). This is an exciting job that allows you to work in the field of engineering and design while doing what you love. 

There are two major types of work a Marine Engineer or Naval Architect may be involved in: structural and non-structural. Structural work involves the design and building of the hull, propellers, and many other parts of the ship or submarine. These parts need to be strong, sturdy, and well-designed. Non-structural work is a broad term that can involve almost anything having to do with the ship or submarine itself. It can include things like working on the bridge, operating machinery, or even just cleaning.

Marine Engineers and Naval Architects must have both an engineering background as well as architectural skills. A bachelor’s degree in either field is usually required, but some experience in the field may be required as well. Many people who are interested in this job will have military service experience and some knowledge of math and science already, which can be a big help.  Most Marine Engineers and Naval Architects begin their careers as a Draftsman. They are given projects that need work, such as construction of a bridge or repair to an aircraft. They learn the ropes of what it takes to make a bridge or aircraft strong and safe. They may also work with designers to make sure their plans work. The majority of Marine Engineers and Naval Architects start in this position.

After working with a few projects and gaining experience, they may move into an Architect role. This is a more specialized role, but a very important one as it allows them to work on larger projects and be responsible for the entire design. They are responsible for the exterior and interior layout of the vessel and the project itself. They design and plan out everything from the structural design to the interior and exterior materials. They often work closely with the chief engineer (the head of the engineering team) on how things will be built and what kind of equipment will be needed. Many Marine Engineers and Naval Architects will eventually move into the Executive Officer role, which is basically a captain-like position. Executive Officers can also be given the responsibility of heading up an entire project.  The pay for a Marine Engineer or Naval Architect varies by location. According to, the national average salary for a Marine Engineer or Naval Architect is $81,976 per year.

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