Marine Biologist Career Path

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Marine Biologist Career Path

Becoming a marine biologist is a dream come true for many people. It’s the perfect blend of science and nature, and it allows you to explore the world’s oceans and all of their hidden secrets. But what does it take to become a marine biologist? What kind of education and experience is required? And what are the best career paths for someone who wants to work in this field?

In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more. We will discuss the different educational paths you can take to become a marine biologist, as well as the different job opportunities available in this field. So if you are interested in becoming a marine biologist, keep reading!

1. What is a Marine Biologist?

A marine biologist is a scientist who studies the world’s oceans and all of their inhabitants, from microbes to blue whales. This person uses his or her expert knowledge to identify new species, explore the effects of climate change on different ecosystems, understand possible ways to counteract these changes, and much more.

In addition to this scientific component, a marine biologist also needs to have a deep love and appreciation for nature. They need to be great communicators, as they will often work with other biologists, scientists, and non-scientists alike. Plus, as the oceans are such an important resource for humans on planet Earth, it is imperative that we understand these ecosystems as best we can so that they can be protected for future generations.

2. What Does a Marine Biologist Do?

As we discussed above, a marine biologist’s main duty is to conduct scientific research. However, that doesn’t mean that your workday will be jam-packed with lab experiments and data analysis. This person has the unique opportunity to travel around the world and explore some of its most remote and spectacular destinations.

For example, a marine biologist might have the chance to dive into the Great Barrier Reef, a coral reef that is home to over 1,500 different species of fish. Or perhaps they will go deep-sea diving in the Caribbean Sea, where colorful corals and sponges can be found all around you. In addition to this exploration aspect, a marine biologist could also spend some time in the lab conducting experiments and writing up reports.

3. How to Become a Marine Biologist?

Now that you know what a marine biologist does, it is time to look at how you can become one. We recommend starting with the basics, such as earning your bachelor’s degree in biology or another life science. This will give you a strong foundation on which to build your future career, and some of the core courses you take might even be applicable to graduate studies in marine biology.

During this stage, focus on taking courses that will strengthen your scientific skills and help you learn more about the field of biology. For example, classes in genetics, microbiology, evolutionary theory, ecology, anatomy/physiology, cell biology, or molecular biology could all be extremely helpful for your future career.

Once you have earned your bachelor’s degree, it is time to decide what type of path you would like to take. As we mentioned above, marine biologists can specialize in a wide range of fields and go on to pursue many different careers. For example:

1) Conservation scientist: This individual uses his or her scientific knowledge to help protect natural resources. They could work for the government or a non-profit organization and might conduct research on issues such as climate change, overfishing, or pollution.

2) Marine park ranger: A marine park ranger is an environmentalist who works at a public aquarium, oceanarium, marine mammal park, or other tourist attraction. This person takes care of the animals and educates visitors about our oceans.

3) Fisheries biologist: The research conducted by a fisheries biologist has an impact on how we manage, protect and conserve fish stocks. This individual might be employed as part of a team that is responsible for ensuring sustainable fishing practices.

4) Veterinary assistant: If you love both animals and the oceans, you might want to go into veterinary medicine and care for marine mammals like seals or dolphins.

5) Conservation education officer: The primary goal of a conservation education officer is to protect wildlife through environmental education. They could work at an aquarium, nature center, or public park (with animals like turtles).

6) Lab technician: A lab technician is a type of bio-technician who works in a research and laboratory environment and conducts experiments.

7) Research assistant: A research assistant helps marine biologists conduct their field studies or lab projects, which will include data collection, analyzing results, and creating reports.

8) Eco-tour guide/naturalist: An eco-tour guide takes tourists to protected areas where they can catch glimpses of the local flora and fauna. A naturalist might conduct research on plants or animals, be employed at an aquarium/aquarium park, or work for the government (e.g., national park service).

As you can see, there are many different ways to become a marine biologist! However, there are additional steps you will need to take as well, such as earning your master’s degree (or Ph.D.) and gaining practical experience through research or internships.

Steps to Becoming a Marine Biologist:

  • Acquire your bachelor’s degree in biology (or another life science) from an accredited institution
  • Do research/gain volunteer experience at a local marine laboratory or aquarium
  • Consider earning a Master’s degree in a biological science (e.g., ichthyology, marine biology, zoology)
  • Obtain your teaching certification (not required for all careers)
  • Get hands-on research experience through internships or volunteer work
  • Write/publish research papers
  • Gain teaching experience
  • Consider membership in the CMA (see below for details)
  • Get hired! And start enjoying your career as a marine biologist!

The best way to learn more about this field is through firsthand experience. If you are a high school or college student and would like to learn more, contact the facility closest to you and take a tour. You can also do an internet search for local marine laboratories for your country. Most labs provide volunteer opportunities, as well as internships that usually take place over the summer months.

4. Is It Hard to Become a Marine Biologist?

It can be challenging but it is certainly not impossible. You will need to work hard and demonstrate a lot of discipline and passion for this field if you want to succeed. There may also be long periods of time when you do not get paid, so you will have to have a steady flow of money coming in from another job/source.

All in all, marine biology is a great field to study and work in. However, it will be challenging, time-consuming and you may not earn as much as you would if your studied something else (e.g., accounting). But if you are passionate about the ocean and its creatures, this could be the career for you!

5. What Skills are Required to Become a Marine Biologist?

Here are some important skills and characteristics that you will need to succeed:

Be a team player: Marine biology is usually conducted by teams of researchers, so you will need to work well with others. You may also have to wear many hats (e.g., researcher, data collector, lab tech) depending on the type of position you get.

Be detail-oriented: Marine biologists are required to be very diligent when it comes to their research. They also usually have heavy workloads full of complex projects, so you will need to pay close attention to the smaller details on a regular basis.

Enjoy being in the water or on the ocean: You will spend some time out at sea, so you will have to be a strong swimmer and love being in the water. You may also need to get your SCUBA certification.

Enjoy conducting research: Marine biologists spend a lot of time researching different topics, from animal behavior to ocean acidification. This is part of their job on a daily basis.

Be self-motivated: Since marine biology can be very solitary, you will need to be able to motivate yourself on a regular basis. Don’t expect others to push you all the time!

Enjoy teaching/working with children: Marine biologists often lead educational programs or teach about wildlife at aquariums, so it is beneficial if you like working with kids on a regular basis.

Be a critical thinker: Marine biologists need to be able to interpret and analyze data, as well as come up with new experiments or research questions from time to time.

Be curious about the world around you: This career requires a great deal of patience and curiosity because there is always something new to learn in this field!

Work well with your hands: Marine biologists often perform hands-on research (e.g., dissecting fish), so you will need to be comfortable getting your hands dirty if you want to succeed in this field.

6. How Do You Become an Expert on Marine Biology?

There are many different educational paths you can take if you want to become a marine biologist. Some people go straight into college after high school for four years, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine science, zoology, or another field related to living organisms. After this degree is completed, it’s time for graduate school!

Many people choose to pursue a master’s degree in marine biology or a related subject first. This allows them to gain real-world experience before jumping into college again. Finally, some people feel ready to enter a Ph.D. program after years of research experience.

7. How Long Does It Take to Become a Marine Biologist?

Marine biologists come from all different walks of life. Some go to college right after high school, while others take some time off in between. After this point, it usually takes around 4 years to earn a bachelor’s degree and another 5-7 years to earn a Ph.D. (if you choose that route).

8. What Kind of Salary Can You Expect as a Marine Biologist?

Salary varies a lot depending on where you work and what your specific job title is. In general, marine biologists with a bachelor’s degree earn about $30,000 per year. Those with a Ph.D. can earn around $55,000 or more, while those with an advanced degree (e.g., masters) can earn closer to $45,000 per year.

Most marine biologists work in either academia or in the private sector (e.g., research divisions of large companies). Salaries for these positions vary significantly depending on where you live and if your employer is a public or private organization/company.

9. Job Outlook for a Marine Biologist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently about 21,000 people working as marine biologists in the United States (in all kinds of fields). Since this occupation is categorized as “Botanists and Zoologists” under the broader job title of “Life Scientists”, it ranks #50 out of the top 100 occupations in terms of the number of jobs.

Over the next 10 years, this field is expected to grow by about 19%. This slower-than-average rate is due to an aging population of current marine biologists and limited federal funding for research. Keep in mind that this career choice does require advanced degrees, so some people will need to wait a few years before they are eligible to enter the workforce.

10. Top Recruiting Companies for a Marine Biologist

The majority of marine biologists work in either academia or for a private company. In most cases, large universities provide the best opportunities for employment. However, there are a number of companies that hire marine biologists as well:

Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Environmental Protection Agency, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History National Institutes of Health University Corporation for

11. Some of Top Online Courses of Marine Biology

Oceanography: a key to better understand our world by Coursera:

The foundations of the science of oceanography will be covered in this course. You’ll learn about the ocean floor’s categorization and formation, how modern sea satellite analysis systems work, ocean chemistry, and the processes that lead to its genesis.

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Introduction to Algae by Coursera:

Algae are a diverse group of organisms that may be found in practically every environment in the world and serve a critical part in the survival of life on the planet. They’re miniature bio-factories that employ photosynthesis to produce chemical substances that can be used for food, feed, medicine, and even energy. We’ve gathered some of the most knowledgeable algae specialists from industry and academia to educate you on the basics of algae. This course will address what algae are, why they’re essential, and why we’re interested in them for both environmental and product-related reasons. You’ll also learn about the immense diversity of algae, as well as the properties and uses of some of the more common species.

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One Planet, One Ocean by EDx:

Learn about ocean science from some of the world’s top scientists in this course. They will discuss the concerns and possible solutions for fighting for our threatened waters, which will be based on rigorous scientific study.

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Our Global Ocean – An Introduction Course by EDx:

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History educators created this short course, which was approved by scientists from the Smithsonian and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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The Complete Marine Biology 101 Course, Beginner to Advanced by Udemy:

This is the only course taught by a junior marine biologist (MSc, currently working at the University of British Columbia as a research assistant). You’ll get exactly the same comprehensive content for a fraction of most prices of competitors. This course is designed for complete beginners to intermediate or even advanced academics who want a refresher. This course covers some of the most exciting and relevant topics in the marine science realm.

Apply Now

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