We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What does an Oceanographer do?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An oceanographer is a trained scientist who studies the various physical properties and processes of oceans. He or she might study the chemical composition of ocean water samples or investigate physical changes in tides and currents. Scientists may track the movement of minerals and sediments, analyze seismic and volcanic activity, or survey ocean floors. An oceanographer can find employment with a private research institution, university, government agency, or environmental organization.

An oceanographer often specializes in chemical, physical, or geological oceanography. Chemical oceanographers collect and analyze samples of water, sediments, and marine plants to better understand their chemical structures. Scientists might determine how pollution changes the chemical composition of ocean water, and the greater effects pollution may have on plants and animals. They may also investigate samples from many different areas to understand the movement of different minerals and chemicals over time and space.

A physical oceanographer studies the visible makeup of ocean sediments, changes in tides and pressure, and the effects of different natural processes. Scientists might track currents and temperature changes to determine how and why certain weather patterns emerge. Some physical oceanographers use their knowledge of seafloor spreading and plate tectonics to predict earthquakes and tidal activity.

There is remarkably little scientific knowledge of the earth's ocean floors. Professionals who specialize in geological oceanography are essential in mapping unfamiliar seafloors, investigating deep sea vents, and discovering new marine life at extreme depths. Since physically exploring ocean floors is incredibly difficult and dangerous, geological oceanographers employ a number of indirect mapping techniques and equipment. They may use global positioning systems, underwater cameras, and depth finders to determine the presence of ridges, valleys, and other topographical features.

Oceanographers who work for government agencies and environmental groups are often involved in conservation efforts. Their research is often applied to theories of global climate change and used to explain the effects of pollution on marine ecosystems. Many conservation oceanographers explain their findings in scientific journals and in public awareness seminars.

To become an oceanographer, a person must typically obtain at least a master's degree in oceanography or marine geology. Most scientists who work for universities and government agencies hold doctoral degrees. Some oceanography jobs require professionals to pass written state or national licensing exams, which test their knowledge of laws, regulations, and general research techniques. New oceanographers often work as interns or assistants to established scientists for one to two years before conducting independent research, gaining valuable firsthand experience in designing research projects and writing scientific papers.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By BoniJ — On Aug 31, 2011

It seems like this could be a really profitable career, if you get some experience. Especially the type of oceanography that deals with chemistry. I mean, I'm sure the training is really involved, but it must be such a cool career once you get a few years under your belt.

By live2shop — On Aug 30, 2011

Can anybody tell me more about how to become an oceanographer? I think this sounds like such a cool career, I would love to get involved. How would I even start though? I'm still in high school, so I have a long way to go before I could get a Master's degree...

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.