Oceanographers study the seas and oceans.
Salary range: £14,000 to £60,000
How to become an oceanographer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
You can study for a degree in oceanography or a related subject, like:
- ocean science
- environmental science
Employers are increasingly looking for postgraduate qualifications, like a master’s or PhD. They also value experience of working in marine science or oceanography research.
You can get experience through:
- studying for a degree that includes a year in industry with a research organisation
- a placement or internship in a laboratory or marine research centre
You can find marine companies and research organisations through the Society for Underwater Technology.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of geography
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- knowledge of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture
- excellent written communication skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- analytical thinking skills
- maths knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- planning and carrying out research expeditions
- managing a research project and leading a team
- preparing scientific equipment
- designing experiments to test your ideas
- using equipment to collect samples and data
- tracking changes in the environment
- using computers to produce models like maps of the ocean floor
- writing reports of your research findings
- publishing and presenting your findings
You could work in an office or in a laboratory.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
Career path and progression
You could further your career by taking courses through the Marine Technology Education Consortium, or by networking at events run by the Society for Underwater Technology or the Challenger Society for Marine Science.
You could take a PhD through an initiative like the Southampton Partnership for Innovative Training of Future Investigators Researching the Environment (SPITFIRE).
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