This profession includes studies related to an array of topics such as plate tectonics, ocean currents, and the overall morphology and geology of the ocean floor. Growing concerns of environmental pollution and global warming have made the job of oceanographers more challenging, as they need to be more vigilant in highlighting the impact of such environmental issues on the marine life.
By using scientific and mathematical tools, an oceanographer is also able to establish a relation between all the factors that lead to environmental problems and water pollution. Besides these, study cases related to mineral exploration, shipping, fisheries, weather prediction, climate change, tidal currents, and renewable energy sources are also analyzed.
The work profile is diversified into various parts like studying the geological, physical, and chemical aspects of the ocean.
The geological oceanographers study the topography of the ocean floor, formation of canyons and underwater volcanoes. One of the important duties is to collect and study sediments and rocks from deep inside the ocean and to predict about the geological activity that may occur in the future. The fossils found in the oceans are researched to understand the geological activities and the climate history that prevailed thousands of years ago.
The physical oceanographers are the scientists who have become very important in predicting the movements in the ocean, for instance the tides, waves and winds. By studying the ocean movements, temperature and concentration of salinity, these scientists are able to understand the cause of natural disasters like the tsunamis. The satellite technology has made their job quite easier and better, as they are able to get an overall view of the images of the ocean and seas.
The chemical oceanographers are concerned with the interaction of chemicals in the water, along with the effects on the marine life. They study the probable effects of global warming. The chemical reactions between the seawater and the ocean floor is also examined.
With the investment in environmental research rising, many science and technology institutes are hiring young aspirants who can assist senior scientists. Besides these, teaching jobs in reputable institutes are a good option for those with postgraduate degrees in oceanography related subjects. The average salary of an oceanographer with bachelor's degree is between USD 25,000 to USD 40,000, annually. For the scientists with postgraduate and doctoral degree, the salaries can go as high as USD 130,000, annually.
The aspirant must have had science and maths as compulsory subjects in the high school and college degree. In graduation years, a degree in earth sciences and physical sciences is mandatory. To become professional scientists, a postgraduate degree or doctoral research in related subjects is often mandatory, as the knowledge and skill levels for the job is very high.