Ship engineers need a technical degree in engineering before they can practice their profession. During college, they learn advanced physics, mathematics, chemistry, construction and repair subjects, engine design and other technical subjects that make them proficient and comfortable with making quick decisions regarding a ship's technical operation. They also learn special engineering that is applied specifically to ships and other naval vessels. Ship engineers also may require a master's degree in a specific field of naval engineering, which allows them to achieve in-depth knowledge about particular areas of a ships' operation.

Ship engineers are usually people who are very detail oriented and have excellent problem-solving and leadership abilities. There is no time nor space for uncertainty, presumptions and debates aboard a ship that has a malfunction, and this is when ship engineers step in to coordinate and supervise quick and effective repair and maintenance processes by guiding and motivating the technical crew.

Ship engineers must also have a broad view of the big picture about a ship's current technical condition unlike crew members who are usually in charge of a specific part or department on a ship. People who aspire to become ship engineers need to have physical endurance, be emotionally stable and have excellent communication skills. They also need to be able to overcome frustration caused by failure and be resilient in their job. Future ship engineers need to learn how to mediate conflicts between technical crew members and act quickly in cases when resources are scarce and large-scale repairs are temporarily impossible to execute.

What are Ship Engineers like?


Based on our pool of users, ship engineers tend to be predominately investigative people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Ship Engineers by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 42 Sokanu users

Are Ship Engineers happy?


Ship engineers rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 38th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Ship Engineer Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Ship Engineers

The most common degree held by ship engineers is Mechanical Engineering. 12% of ship engineers had a degree in mechanical engineering before becoming ship engineers. That is over 7 times the average across all careers. Naval Engineering graduates are the second most common among ship engineers, representing 7% of ship engineers in the Sokanu user base, which is 194.0 times the average.

Ship Engineer Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Ship Engineer, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of ship engineers % of population Multiple
Mechanical Engineering 11.9% 1.6% 7.4×
Naval Engineering 7.1% 0.0% 194.0×

Ship Engineer Education Levels

77% of ship engineers have an associate's degree. 12% of ship engineers have a high school diploma.

No education 1%
High school diploma 12%
Associate's degree 77%
Bachelor's degree 10%
Master's degree 0%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Ship Engineer

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