Naval architect

Create Produce

Career outlook for naval architect

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would design, build and repair vessels such as ships and boats, and offshore structures such as drilling platforms.

You would:

  • Manage the work of engineering design teams
  • Make sure that designs are safe, functional and good value for money
  • Prepare design plans using computer software
  • Check and test plans using computers and 3D models
  • Organise production and repairs

You could specialise in a particular area, such as design, building and repair work, research and development, or consultancy.

You could also work for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as a ship surveyor. You would then check the safety of ships and marine structures.

Working conditions


You would usually work around 40 hours a week but you may sometimes need to do extra hours, for example to meet deadlines.


Although the work is mainly office-based, you may also work in test laboratories or on the floor of a production facility. You may spend some time on board vessels or rigs, which can involve working at heights. It might also mean having to deal with poor weather and rough seas.


You may sometimes have to travel to look at vessels or rigs.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Managing resources
  • Coaching
  • Delegating

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would need: 

  • a Marine Engineering Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7)
  • or a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8)
  • or a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (SCQF level 9/10)
  • or an Engineering or Physics degree and Marine Engineering postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11)

Course must be recognised by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA).

You can enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Entry to a degree (SCFQ level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and Highers at AAAB, Advanced Highers may be asked for, or a relevant HNC/HND. 

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects, in particular physics and chemistry (required by many courses and employers)
  • English
  • Design and technologies subjects such as engineering science

You will also need

After completing your initial training you would follow a RINA-accredited scheme of work-based professional development.  

You would then complete a minimum of two years work experience before applying to the Engineering Council for incorporated or chartered engineer status and full membership of RINA.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show understanding of the navy, engineering, structural design and building such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCFQ level 4) or Maritime Skills (SCFQ level 5) could be useful when applying to courses.