Best jobs for water lovers
Make a splash in one of these careers.
Is summer’s heat making you eager for a dive in the pool? Looks like you’ll be doing more of that year-round if global warming continues apace. According to NASA, the past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record. So it might be wise to explore a career path that either keeps you in close, cool proximity to water—or focuses your talents on preserving the stuff. Whether you're interested in ocean jobs or are more the freshwater type, there are boatloads (no pun intended) of opportunities.
Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Monster found 10 perfect jobs for those who are happiest spending time on or near the water.
What you’d do: Like a farmer, an aquaculture worker is part of the agriculture field, but instead of raising livestock and tending to crops on land, they raise fish and shellfish and maintain their watery habitats.
What you need: A high-school diploma may be needed; physical stamina, strength and mechanical skills are a must. On-the-job training is usually provided.
What you’d make: $26,560 per year
Find aquaculture worker jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: An aquarist is an animal care worker that works specifically with fish and other species that live in aquariums—think of aquarists like underwater zookeepers. They’re responsible for aquarium maintenance, as well as feeding and monitoring the animals to ensure they are healthy.
What you need: A high-school diploma is a minimum requirement; a bachelor’s degree usually is needed to specifically work with marine life. Degrees in marine biology, animal science, biology or a related field are most common.
What you’d make: $23,950 per year
Find aquarist jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Ready to take the plunge? Commercial divers use scuba gear to do underwater work such as repairing, removing or installing equipment and structures, conducting tests and experiments, rigging explosives and photographing marine life.
What you need: A commercial diver needs certification and training to dive alone or in certain areas. You’d also need knowledge of the tools and equipment that are used on the job.
What you’d make: $47,210 per year
Find commercial diver jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: People envision fishing as a relaxing activity, but it’s a different story altogether when it’s what you do for a living. This is a labor-intensive job; fishermen work with a crew to locate fish, set up fishing nets and traps and sort, pack and store their catches. When not catching fish, they’re cleaning and maintaining the ship.
What you need: Traditional education is not needed to be a fisherman, but it does help to go through a two-year vocational-technical program. Most fishermen learn on the job. Working on a large commercial fishing vessel requires a training course approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
What you’d make: $28,310 per year
Find fisherman jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: As the name implies, hydrologists study everything about water, including its properties, distribution and movement through the atmosphere. Basically, hydrologists are charged with making sure there’s enough water to support all life on earth for the long term. They look for ways to minimize erosion and environmental pollution, and use technology to forecast future water supplies, floods, the spread of pollution and other events.
What you need: Hydrologists need a bachelor’s degree, but many also get a master’s degree.
What you’d make: $79,370 per year
Find hydrologist jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Water lovers, this job ensures there’s always a chair waiting for you—and it’s far from the corner office. Lifeguards monitor pools, beaches and any other recreation areas with a body of water nearby to ensure safety rules are followed and to provide assistance when a rescue is necessary.
What you need: No formal education is needed to be a lifeguard, but specific training and certifications are necessary.
What you’d make: $22,410 per year
Find lifeguard jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Perhaps the most well-known of ocean jobs, marine biologists study saltwater organisms and how they interact with their ecosystem—and considering an estimated 50% to 80% of all life on earth is found under the sea, marine biologists have their work cut out for them. They conduct studies either in controlled settings or natural habitats to analyze the characteristics, reproduction and movement patterns of marine life.
What you need: Degrees in zoology, wildlife biology or ecology are typical for marine biologists. For entry-level marine biologist positions, a bachelor’s degree is needed. Master’s degrees are often required for higher-level investigative work, and PhDs are necessary for independent research or university positions.
What you’d make: $63,420 per year
Find marine biologist jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Much like a traditional architect designs homes and other buildings, a naval architect designs and builds ships of all sizes. Once ships are constructed, naval architects often evaluate the ship’s performance both at sea and in the dock, making changes as they see fit to ensure safety and to see that national and international standards are met.
What you need: A bachelor’s degree in naval architecture is needed. You’re more likely to get hired with practical experience, so enroll in programs that will give you class credit for hands-on work. Many maritime academies provide hands-on experiences at sea.
What you’d make: $92,560 per year
Find naval architect jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: If the deep sea is a passion of yours, consider making waves in this field. An oceanographer is a specialized type of geoscientist; geoscientists study the physical aspects of earth, while oceanographers specifically study the ocean. They analyze the movements and physical and chemical properties of ocean waters, and how those properties affect coastal areas, climate and weather.
What you need: A bachelor’s degree is needed for entry-level positions, but many oceanographers also have a master’s degree.
What you’d make: $91,130 per year
Find oceanographer jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: All aboard! Captains transport passengers or cargo across domestic and foreign waters and are responsible for the safety of everyone and everything onboard, supervision of the crew as well as overseeing ship maintenance.
What you need: Becoming a captain usually requires years of experience working your way up from entry-level positions.
What you’d make: $69,180 per year
Find ship captain jobs on Monster.
Oceans of job opportunities
Finding a job you love—on land or at sea—can leave you feeling like you're floating, but with some strategic plans in place, you'll be better able to narrow your focus and streamline your job search. Need some help navigating these unchartered waters? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume or cover letter, each tailored to the types of water-centric jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top positions with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent to your inbox so you can be among the first to apply to great jobs. Monster can help you make waves in whatever field (or lake, ocean, or river) you choose.