You’ll get a great start in an oceanography career by taking as many math, English and science courses as possible.
Take chemistry, zoology, and any or all of the physical science and earth science courses your school offers. You should also study geology, physics, marine biology and oceanography (of course).
If your high school doesn’t have some of these courses available, contact the local colleges and universities in your area; chances are one (or several) of them will (And if they don’t, ask the science department for recommended courses that can be taken online that other schools may offer). Many universities have special or early start programs which enable top and promising high school students classes for college credit.
Sign up for calculus, trigonometry and all the algebra and geometry you can handle. And you’ll need to learn the metric system!
English composition, business and technical writing and even oral communication classes are highly recommended. Why? Because as an oceanographer, you’ll still be writing reports, research papers and may have to give speeches!
Doing grant proposals, lab and field notes and progress reports will be part of your world.
And of course, learn all the computer skills you can (particularly putting together and maintaining databases, spreadsheets and documents).
Fluency in a couple of foreign languages will come in handy in order to read about studies conducted in other countries (If you have the ability for it, try Russian, German or Chinese!).
Having some mechanical and drawing ability will be useful in some oceanography fields, as will some knowledge of electronics (You may be doing illustrations or working with specialized equipment).
What kind of oceanographer do you want to be? There are several different types: If you would love being a marine biologist, you’ll be studying the animals and plants that live in the ocean. A physical oceanographer deals with and studies waves, currents and tides. Chemical oceanographers study and research the chemicals and composition of seawater, while marine geologists study the rocks beneath the sea, the ocean’s sand and mud, and how the shores are formed (and their history).
Oceanographers may also work in and for a variety of places, such as institutions that deal exclusively with the sea. They can teach at universities or be employed at government agencies.
Now all of the abovementioned courses will set you firmly on your path, but bear in mind that the minimum educational requirement for an oceanography career is a bachelor’s degree.
For research and teaching positions, graduate training in oceanography or one of the basic sciences is required.
Many oceanographers have a doctor’s degree in their field.
Be prepared for a lot of homework!