Marine engineer

Marine engineer Jobs – Young Jobseeker Info

Did you know?

Have you ever wondered who actually builds boats, ships and even submarines? Who tests them out to make sure they are safe for the public, and who repairs them when things go wrong? This is the sort of thing you’d be doing if you became a marine engineer.

Perks of the job: This is definitely one of those jobs where you can travel to far-off places and get paid for it.

Fun facts: Cruise ships are really popular these days and marine engineers can get very well paid for designing new ships that are basically floating cities of fun.

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Marine engineer job trends

How much money can you make as a marine engineer?

£18,000 – £35,000 (UK average)

£24,000 – £55,000

The starting salary can be around £24,000 – £28,000. When you gain experience, your wage can increase to £30,000-£40,000 and can eventually rise to £55,000 when you become extremely experienced.

What entry qualifications and training do you need?

School, college and training

To become a marine engineer, aim to get the school qualifications that would help you get on an apprenticeship or degree course. This usually means at least five GCSEs or the equivalent including maths and a science subject with grades 9-4 (A*-C).

For a degree, HNC or HND course you’ll also most likely need at 1-3 A-levels or the equivalent in a relevant subject. Good news – you can choose to study for a relevant BTEC national certificate or diploma instead, if you’re thinking of technical college as an alternative to school!

After school you can decide if you want to scout around for early career opportunities like apprenticeships or stay in the world of education and do further learning.


If you want to get into marine engineering straight after school, you can train as an engineering technician with employers like the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy. They offer degree apprenticeships which mean you can study for a degree while on the job – and you don’t have to pay student fees either.

You could also apply for a marine engineering technician apprenticeship with various employers. See the organisation links at the bottom of the page for people who can help you find out more about how to become a marine engineer.

Fun Fact: Did you know there is a shortage of marine engineers in the UK?

Taking the University route?

You’ll need to have a HNC, HND or a degree in one of the following subjects to get off to a flying start in this career:

  • Marine engineering
  • Marine Technology
  • Naval architecture
  • Offshore engineering

DID YOU KNOW? Some universities offer a one-year foundation course for those without a maths or science qualification.

Career progression

Being a marine engineer can open many doors for you in the future. Once you’ve gained some management experience you could specialise in project management. Or you could specialise in wider research, or go down an academic route and teach marine biology or perhaps go into consultancy. There are so many routes open to you including the option to work internationally.

What experience do you need for marine engineer jobs?

Work experience

If you go directly into the Merchant Navy, they have numerous pathways to becoming a marine engineer. They offer officer cadet training which requires at least four GCSEs ( grades 9-4 / A*-C) including English, Maths, Physics or a combined science, and three A-levels. They offer undergraduate programmes as well as graduate schemes. Everyone applying must undergo a medical examination which is paid for by an employer/potential employer or a training provider.

The Royal Navy also takes applications for engineer officer roles from final year students and graduates of Engineering Council UK accredited engineer disciplines. Going down these routes will give you first-hand experience of marine engineering, and will help you plot your course.

What skills do you need for marine engineering jobs?

What life and work skills do you need to be a great marine engineer?

Useful skills to highlight in your CV, cover letter and interview include:

  • Great project management skills (although you’ll be trained up in these at apprenticeship and graduate level)
  • Great IT and numeracy skills
  • Interpreting and reading data
  • Working to tight and pressured deadlines
  • Prioritising busy workloads – self-management skills always come in handy!
  • Good problem solving skills – you get to the root of problems to explore possible solutions
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good teamworking skills both in and out of the workplace, because you’ll often be living and working closely with colleagues
  • Enthusiasm at the chance to work with all kinds of systems and equipment.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

Start building these skills right now – sign up for free Young Professional training.

What does a marine engineer do?

Marine engineers design, build and take care of the marine systems on ships. Your job will have so much variety, because you could be working on building the ship, or working onboard the ship itself, making sure it has power and fuel and the electricity to keep everything running smoothly.

As a marine engineer, you’d be expected to regularly survey ships, assessing whether they are safe to use. You could also work in offshore oil and gas systems, making sure the design and construction of these are fit for purpose.

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