National Oceans and Applications Research Center and Pearl River Community College have collaborated to provide a Hydrography Technology program at the Hancock Campus. The Hydrography program began in Fall of 2023 and will begin enrollment for Fall 2024 in April. Pearl River Community College is leading the way as the first institution of its kind to offer an Associate of Applied Science in Hydrography.
Hydrography involves measuring and describing the physical characteristics of bodies of water. This data is subsequently utilized to generate current nautical maps, enhancing the safety of waterway navigation. Additionally, hydrography plays a crucial role in planning for the burgeoning industries of marine renewable energy and aquaculture in the United States.
Upon completion of the two-year program, graduates will have the option to transition to the Hydrography program at the University of Southern Mississippi. USM stands as the sole institution in the United States offering a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science with a specialized emphasis in Hydrography. Furthermore, it is one of only two programs providing master’s and PhD programs in this field.
PRCC has entered into a five-year Collaborative Applications Research Agreement with NOARC to address the growing demand for coastal mapping technicians. Hydrographers can expect starting salaries ranging from $70,000 to $80,000 per year, while Hydrographic Support Technicians can anticipate salaries between $50,000 and $60,000 annually.
“PRCC is proud to be on the cutting edge of developing technician level graduates for the field of Hydrography. Working with the professionals at NOARC has ensured our curriculum is aligned with current industry standards and needs. This partnership will allow our students the opportunity to work directly with these experts through cooperative field experiences and potential internships. The future is certainly promising for any student wishing to pursue a career in the field of Hydrography,” said Dr. Amy Townsend, PRCC Dean of Career & Technical Education.
Hancock County is expanding its presence in the Blue Economy, and PRCC’s Hydrography Technology program will contribute to workforce development in our region, meeting the demand from our growing Blue Economy companies.
The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission was established in 1963 to lead the county’s economic development activities. Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park are home to 30 companies with more than 1,000 employees. For more information visit www.portairspace.com.