How Do I Become a Naval Architect?

Meghan Perry

There are many different qualities necessary to become a naval architect. Inherent qualities, such as creativity, intelligence, and motivation, are important as are education level and experience. Many companies that hire naval architects require at least a bachelor's degree, and depending upon the classification of the job, a more advanced degree may be necessary.

Naval architects may work at shipyards, where they can directly observe changes that are being made to a drydocked vessel.
Naval architects may work at shipyards, where they can directly observe changes that are being made to a drydocked vessel.

Naval architects are generally responsible for designing, constructing, and repairing marine vessels or other sea structures, such as oil rigs. They can work in areas such as government, commercial industry, tourism, or recreation. In addition, they may work at shipyards, for maintenance or engineering companies, or in consulting firms. The naval architect has a variety of options when deciding what type of job to pursue.

Training for a career to become a naval architect can begin as early as high school, and classes in math, science, communication, and English can all provide a strong foundation for a naval architecture career. The next step is to choose a college that offers a degree in a field that will support the process of becoming a naval architect. If a naval architecture degree is not offered, there are other options; marine engineering, ocean engineering, or other engineering fields are all viable areas of study. A master's or doctoral degree can be pursued to become more specialized or get a higher-paying job in the field.

There are also specific skills and knowledge that are useful to become a naval architect, including the mechanical, technical, and mathematical. Financial and communication skills are helpful too. It is important for naval architects to understand a lot of different types of engineering as multiple aspects of engineering are often utilized in the job of a naval architect.

Other avenues that can be taken to become a naval architect are to get an apprenticeship or internship in the field. Some companies offer on-the-job training, which can help the naval architect learn the specifics of a particular company. There are also other training programs available outside of college for people to become a naval architect.

Some of the specific types of knowledge a naval architect should possess are computer-aided design, maritime design, and fluid dynamics, to name a few. Many naval architects specialize in specific areas, such as management, research, manufacturing, or systems engineering. Leadership skills are also often important for people who want to become a naval architect, as they may oversee entire naval architecture projects.

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