7 fun STEM careers on the water

Want a career that lets you flex your skills in the great outdoors? There are oceans of opportunities in STEM.

In this video, we look at seven fun STEM careers on the water. Whether you want to work with dolphins or explore shipwrecks, there’s something for everyone.

Find out more about STEM careers on the water

Here’s the lowdown on the seven cool jobs we mentioned in this video!

1. Marine biologist

STEM careers on the water
Image: CSIRO

These STEM pros research migration and evolution patterns of marine life, the health of marine environments, the human impact on marine animals and reefs, and how to repair damage to ecosystems. They do this through getting out into the field to collect samples and specimens, analysing data and conducting experiments.

Handy qualification: Bachelor of Marine Science

Average salary: $44k – $109k

Meet a marine biologist: Vanessa Pirotta works with whales and even collects their snot all in the name of science! Get across her study and career path here.

2. Ecologist

An ecologist looks at the relationship between animals, plants and the environment. They monitor and collect data about different species and their homes, and work on habitat management and creation. These scientists also aim to protect and restore natural environments. Specialities that involve working with water include marine ecology and freshwater ecology.

Handy qualification: Bachelor of Science (Ecology and Evolution)

Average salary: $55k – $78k

Meet an ecologist: Cass Hunter is an Indigenous social ecological researcher with the Coasts program in CSIRO, Cairns. She has a PhD in Quantitative Marine Science and has shared her career story with us here.

3. Aquatic veterinarian

STEM careers on the water - aquatic vet
Image: Shutterstock

Love animals but would rather be in the water than in a clinic? An aquatic veterinarian path could be perfect for you. These vets are the experts when it comes to the health of marine animals. Their 9-5 includes observing animal behaviour, conducting check-ups, coming up with treatment plans for illnesses and injuries, and being on-call for emergencies.

Handy qualification: Bachelor of Veterinary Biology / Bachelor of Veterinary Science

Average salary: $57k – $104k (for a veterinarian)

RELATED: 10 cool animal jobs you could get with an animal science degree

4. Marine engineer

In this hands-on engineering gig, you design and construct maritime vessels like cargo ships and oil rigs. A marine engineer is also responsible for maintaining and repairing engines, pumps and other tech equipment, and need to be across electrical, hydraulic and propulsion systems.

Handy qualification: Diploma of Marine Engineering

Average salary: $54k – $194k

Meet a marine engineer: Kelsie Clarke, a director at Engineers Without Borders, has worked in a variety of roles, from geotechnical to marine engineering. Check out her awesome STEM CV here.

5. Aquarist

STEM careers on the water - aquarist
Image: Shutterstock

These lucky STEM peeps get to hang out with marine animals all day! They’re the ones who look after animals in aquariums or the aquatic section of a zoo. This job includes making sure their living conditions are in tip-top shape, providing the right foods, and coming up with activities for the creatures who need extra stimulation.

Handy qualification: Bachelor of Marine Science

Average salary: $44k – $53k

RELATED: Build a career in shark conservation

6. Hydrologist

The name might be a giveaway but a hydrologist is purely about the water! They study everything about it, like its cycles and how it evaporates. A big part of this gig is monitoring rain and snow levels to see how these affect Earth’s water levels in rivers, lakes and wetlands. They can also be asked to assess water quality and develop conservation plans.

Handy qualification: Bachelor of Science (Hydrology)

Average salary: $61k – $150k

Meet a hydrologist: Bradley Moggridge‘s research links western science with Kamilaroi and Indigenous knowledge to develop best-practice methodologies for water planning and management tailored to specific landscapes. Discover his pathway here.

7. Marine archaeologist

STEM careers on the water - marine archaeologist
Image: Shutterstock

Keen on archaeology, ancient history and scuba diving? Mash up your passions and get into marine archaeology. This is an action-packed science role that’ll have you inspecting underwater sites like shipwrecks, as well as doing stacks of research. The end goal? Finding out how past societies interacted with oceans and other bodies of water.

Handy qualification: Graduate Certificate in Maritime Archaeology

Average salary: $52k – $146k (for an archaeologist)

Meet a marine archaeologist: University of Sydney PhD candidate Madhavi Patterson is researching the evolution of the Great Barrier Reef, which means loads of travel and fieldwork to collect samples! Read more about her amazing work (and the cutting-edge tech involved) here.

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Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.

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