Is the summer’s heat making you eager for a dive in the pool? Looks like you’ll be doing more of that year-round if global warming continues apace. According to NASA, 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurred since 2001.
So it might be wise to explore a career path that either keeps you in close, cool proximity to water—or focuses your talents on preserving the stuff.
What you’d do: Like a farmer, an aquaculture worker is part of the agriculture field, but instead of raising livestock and tending to crops on land, they raise fish and shellfish and maintain their watery habitats.
What you need: A high-school diploma may be needed; physical stamina, strength and mechanical skills are a must. On-the-job training is usually provided.
What you’d make: $20,090
What you’d do: An aquarist is an animal care worker that works specifically with fish and other species that live in aquariums—think of aquarists like underwater zookeepers. They’re responsible for aquarium maintenance, as well as feeding and monitoring the animals to ensure they are healthy.
What you need: A high-school diploma is a minimum requirement; a bachelor’s degree usually is needed to specifically work with marine life. Degrees in marine biology, animal science, biology or a related field are most common.
What you’d make: $21,260
What you’d do: Ready to take the plunge? Commercial divers use scuba gear to do underwater work such as repairing, removing or installing equipment and structures, conducting tests and experiments, rigging explosives and photographing marine life.
What you need: A commercial diver needs certification and training to dive alone or in certain areas. You’d also need knowledge of the tools and equipment that are used on the job.
What you’d make: $50,470
What you’d do: People envision fishing as a relaxing activity, but it’s a different story altogether when it’s what you do for a living. This is a labor-intensive job; fishermen work with a crew to locate fish, set up fishing nets and traps and sort, pack and store their catches. When not catching fish, they’re cleaning and maintaining the ship.
What you need: Traditional education is not needed to be a fisherman, but it does help to go through a two-year vocational-technical program. Most fishermen learn on the job. Working on a large commercial fishing vessel requires a training course approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
What you’d make: $28,100
What you’d do: As the name implies, hydrologists study everything about water, including its properties, distribution and movement through the atmosphere. Basically, hydrologists are charged with making sure there’s enough water to support all life on earth for the long term. They look for ways to minimize erosion and environmental pollution, and use technology to forecast future water supplies, floods, the spread of pollution and other events.
What you need: Hydrologists need a bachelor’s degree, but many also get a master’s degree.
What you’d make: $79,550
What you’d do: Marine biologists study saltwater organisms and how they interact with their ecosystem—and considering an estimated 50% to 80% of all life on earth is found under the sea, marine biologists have their work cut out for them. They conduct studies either in controlled settings or natural habitats to analyze the characteristics, reproduction and movement patterns of marine life.
What you need: Degrees in zoology, wildlife biology or ecology are typical for marine biologists. For entry-level marine biologist positions, a bachelor’s degree is needed. Master’s degrees are often required for higher-level investigative work, and PhDs are necessary for independent research or university positions.
What you’d make: $59,680
What you’d do: Much like a traditional architect designs homes and other buildings, a naval architect designs and builds ships of all sizes. Once ships are constructed, naval architects often evaluate the ship’s performance both at sea and in the dock, making changes as they see fit to ensure safety and to see that national and international standards are met.
What you need: A bachelor’s degree in naval architecture is needed. You’re more likely to get hired with practical experience, so enroll in programs that will give you class credit for hands-on work. Many maritime academies provide hands-on experiences at sea.
What you’d make: $93,110
What you’d do: If the deep sea is a passion of yours, consider making waves in this field. An oceanographer is a specialized type of geoscientist; geoscientists study the physical aspects of earth, while oceanographers specifically study the ocean. They analyze the movements and physical and chemical properties of ocean waters, and how those properties affect coastal areas, climate and weather.
What you need: A bachelor’s degree is needed for entry-level positions, but many oceanographers also have a master’s degree.
What you’d make: $89,700
What you’d do: All aboard! Captains transport passengers or cargo across domestic and foreign waters and are responsible for the safety of everyone and everything onboard, supervision of the crew as well as overseeing ship maintenance.
What you need: Becoming a captain usually requires years of experience working your way up from entry-level positions.
What you’d make: $55,000