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Military Ship and Submarine Officers

Military Career

General Information


Ship and submarine officers command or supervise operations of watercraft vessels on oceans, bays, sounds, lakes, and coastal waters. They are responsible for the proper operation and safety of the vessel, including discipline of the crew and seaworthiness of the vessel. Ship and submarine officers also direct diving activities in connection with underwater salvage, repair or rescue work, and administer or instruct all phases of diving.

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Work Environment

Ship and submarine officers work aboard their vessels. Engineering officers are subjected to hot, humid, and noisy environments. Submarine officers work in confined spaces for extended periods.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Comparable Industries

  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
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Military Outlook

Service Branches

Jobs in this career field may be available in other service branches. Call or email a particular branch for more info.

Military Status

  • Officer
    • Managerial/professional
    • College degree required

Military Workforce

Ship and Submarine Officers in the Military


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Salary Information

Median Military Salary This is the median, or the midpoint, of the salary range for this career.


Military Salary Range Salary varies based on years of service, degree level, special pays, family status and location. Learn more about Military benefits.

$28,354 - $502,205

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Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • High school 41%
  • Post-secondary certificate 36%
  • Bachelor's degree 8%
  • Some college 5%
  • Less than high school 4%
  • Associate's degree 2%
  • Master's degree 0%
  • Doctoral degree 0%
  • Post baccalaureate 0%
  • Post-doctoral training 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%

Military training

Officers typically enter the Military after they have completed a four-year college degree; enlisted service members can transition to officer positions through a variety of pathways and earn a degree while serving. Job training for ship and submarine officers primarily consists of classroom instruction and on-the-job learning in one of the following departments: air, weapons, operations, communications, engineering, deck, administration, or supply. Like other officers, they complete a comprehensive training program covering responsibilities, military structure and etiquette, traditions, and leadership development. Job-specific training content may include: Management and organization of ship or submarine operationsPiloting and navigation of shipsInterpretation of maritime laws and policies

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Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership


  • Transportation
  • Mechanical
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Geography
  • Customer and Personal Service

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