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Can An Architect Become A Naval Architect?

As an architect, you may discover an interest in designing structures other than houses, commercial buildings or offices, and infrastructure.

In particular, you may look towards naval architecture as a potential career change.

A naval architect designs and oversees the development of watercraft structures and elements.

Luckily, architects have knowledge and skills that will come in handy in naval architecture..

Follow along to learn more about how to become a naval architect.

Can An Architect Become A Naval Architect?

An architect can become a naval architect.

However, the foundational base of naval architecture is math and engineering.

Since this is the case, they will need to go back to university and complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in naval architecture or naval engineering.

That said, a few classes may transfer to speed up their academic career.

These classes may include technical drawing or drafting and CAD design.

Depending on their original architecture program and requirements, there may also be some mathematics and physics courses.

Additionally, some knowledge and skills are indeed immeasurable.

An architect’s analytical, organized, and creative nature sets them up for success in the naval architecture domain.

During their prior schooling, they developed a mindset and a way of tackling work that will serve them well in their studies and future career.

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Naval Architect?

Prospective naval architects can take two paths to obtain their dream careers.

They can begin by pursuing an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and following up with a graduate degree in naval architecture or engineering.

Alternatively, they can take an undergraduate degree in naval architecture and marine engineering.

No matter which path, students must complete core classes such as:

  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Fluids and Mechanics
  • Ship Dynamics and Control
  • Structural Analysis
  • Ship Design
  • Technical Drawing
  • CAD Design

Read more about Is Naval Architecture A Good Career?

Do Naval Architects Travel?

Naval architects work in offices, on work sites, and at waterfronts or on the water.

They spend most of their time in their offices, discussing ideas with their teams, confirming project details with clients or employers, and designing watercraft or vessels.

Additionally, they will travel to worksites to take measurements or oversee work.

They may also oversee the testing of prototypes on the water.

Apart from traveling for work, they may also attend business meetings, conferences, or training sessions.
Additionally, they may need to travel for acquired positions in other countries if they work for the U.S. Marine Corps or an international firm.

Is Naval Architecture Hard?

Naval architecture is a difficult program and career, requiring excellent knowledge of engineering and ship and submarine dynamics.

Engineering is well-known as a challenging domain.

It requires students to study intensive math, physics, materials science, and design.

Additionally, students must understand how watercraft can successfully and efficiently move through the water.

They must study hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, ship design, and submarine design.

Depending on their intended career focus, they may also study electrical engineering, robotics engineering, navigation systems, computer science, software engineering, or programming.

Furthermore, students must understand fundamental components of architecture such as technical drawing and CAD design.

Ultimately, naval architects must learn a great amount of varied information and understand how it all comes together – a difficult task for many students.

Are Naval Architects Happy?

Naval architects have numerous reasons for high job satisfaction, including short academic careers, various job focuses, generous average salaries, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

Typically, students only need an undergraduate degree to become a naval architect if they complete a program specific to naval architecture or naval engineering.

They can accomplish a higher academic degree if they wish to obtain higher-ranking job positions, earn a spot at prestigious companies, or receive a higher salary.

If they choose to specialize, they can choose from various domains such as research and development, design, risk analysis, maintenance and repair, optimization, testing, marketing and sales, and operations.

They can also work with specific types of watercraft, including merchant ships, passenger ships and boats, warships, submarines, oil platforms, fishing boats, or sports and recreational watercraft.

Naval architects can look forward to an average salary of $93,370 annually.

The salary can increase or decrease depending on the employer, specific job position, education, experience, and specialization.

Most naval architects have the opportunity to advance their careers as they gain further education, skills, or experience in their field.

Alternatively, they may be able to transfer to different locations or earn recognition from preferred employers.
One aspect of naval architecture that may decrease job satisfaction is the number of jobs available.

Across the United States, there is an average of 9,800 job openings per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) only expects a 4% job growth between 2020 and 2030.

How To Get Into Naval Architecture?

If you would like to become a naval architect, it is crucial to obtain proper qualifications. Follow these steps to ensure you achieve your goals:

  1. Earn an undergraduate degree in naval architecture or engineering. Pursuing an engineering degree could follow this with a naval architecture or engineering graduate degree. Choosing a school accredited by The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is essential.
  2. While naval architects do not need a graduate degree, it will increase the chances of hiring from top-tier companies or firms, boost starting salaries, and allow specialization in the field. Again, the graduate school must be an accredited school from ABET.
  3. Engineers must have licenses to practice their craft. They must take The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Graduates can take this as soon as they finish their degree.
  4. After four years of work experience or internship, naval architects can take The Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

Final Thoughts

A naval architect is an excellent career path, whether you are already an architect or a high school graduate deciding on your career path.

As naval architecture relies heavily on engineering, it is important to understand it will be a more challenging discipline than architecture.

Yet, once complete, you will open the doors to an exciting career, plenty of interesting work, and excellent salaries.