Career Profile:

Naval Architect

Blair Snow, 2013
Blair Snow, 2013


Median Yearly





This unit group is for biomedical, marine, and other engineers: This class of engineers design and develop marine vessels and floating structures and associated marine power plants, propulsion systems and related systems and equipment.

Work type:

full-time, self-employed

Most likely to work in:


Most employees have:

Bachelor's Degree


Professional Engineer Certificate

What you do

Naval architecture is an engineering discipline that deals with the science, design and innovation of shipbuilding. 

In the oceans technology sector, naval architects conduct basic and applied research, develop, and evaluate construction during all stages of building a marine vessel. This includes everything from ship structural analysis and design to determining which materials to use within a particular ship, and overseeing the building, maintenance and repair of marine vessels and systems.

A Naval Architect performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Design and develop ships, barges, tugs, dredges, submarines, floats, and buoys;
  • Design the associated marine power plants and propulsion systems; and
  • Oversee the building, maintenance, and repair of vessels and marine systems.

What you need

  • An eye for detail and an aptitude for design;
  • Able to think analytically and logically;
  • Able to work with high amounts of focus and patience;
  • Persistence and good judgement;
  • Able to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings;
  • Able to communicate and cooperate with others, as architects usually work in teams; and
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Who might be hiring?

References and further reading

* The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is "fair", which indicates the changes of a qualified individual finding work is around average.

Your Career Pathway

Opportunities for Hands-on Experience

Secondary School
Co-op Options and Opportunities (Science Streams)
Oceans 11

Post-Secondary Educational Programs

Certificates, Diplomas, Community College
Acadia, Cape Breton University, Dalhousie Agriculture Campus, Saint Mary's, Saint Francis Xavier: Diploma of Engineering (Mechanical concentration if available)
2 years, $6,000 / year
University Bachelor's Degree
Dalhousie: Faculty of Engineering - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
4 years, $12,500 / year
Provincial Standards Examination for Right to Title and Practice

Certification attests that the holder has met provincial requirements for the occupation. Certification is required to practice this profession.

Graduate Programs

NSCC Oceans Technology Program
Advanced one year diploma for students with a Bachelor of Science or Engineering or an Engineering Diploma to further enhance skills in the oeceans technology sector.
Masters Degree
Dalhousie: Faculty of Engineering - Masters Degree
1.5-2 years, $13,000 / year
Doctorate Degree
Dalhousie: Faculty of Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
4 years, $10,000 / year