What Careers are in Marine Biology?

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Perhaps you're thinking of declaring a marine biology major in college, and you're wondering about the availability of careers in marine biology. There are plenty of great careers in this field, but it would be a mistake to limit yourself to searching for them by the job title of "marine biologist," which is not used as often as some of the other job titles that marine biologists typically qualify for. Let's discuss four of the most interesting jobs you might be qualified to apply for once you've earned your degree in marine biology.

1. Biological Technician

A biological technician is a laboratory assistant who supports senior-level microbiologists, biologists, zoologists or other scientists as they conduct laboratory research and experiments. This can also sometimes be a fieldwork position that requires specimen sample collections out in the wilderness or offshore. A typical day might include tasks like paperwork, maintenance of lab equipment, data entry, data analysis, or care of laboratory animals.

Biological technicians earn an average of $43,800 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this is great as an entry-level job for bachelor's degree graduates, you might want to consider studying to obtain a higher degree to advance your career beyond this level.

2. Ichthyologist

An ichthyologist is a wildlife biologist who specializes in researching, studying and understanding fish. A bachelor's degree is sufficient for obtaining some entry-level ichthyologist jobs. Other jobs in this specialization require a more advanced degree. The average pay for an ichthyologist is about $62,290; but to earn the highest salaries in this field, you usually have to secure a government job. There are also some ichthyologist jobs available at aquariums, museums, universities, consulting firms and other organizations, but these jobs tend to pay less on average.

3. Fishery Biologist

The career objective of some fishery biologists is to help in the restoration of fish species whose numbers are declining, particularly those species that have declined to the point they are considered endangered. Many fishery biologists must work out in the field. In addition to a degree, some jobs may require boating experience, the ability to swim and a thorough understanding of marine safety gear.

Many fishery biologists work for state governments, the federal government or the military. The median annual salary for this position is $62,290. Alternate job titles to look for in this specialization include aquatic biologist, fish biologist and ecologist.

4. Marine Mammalogist

Marine mammalogists, otherwise known as marine mammal scientists, need to possess a broad skillset including knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics. They also need to have training in computer science, statistics, data analysis and mathematics. A particular area of expertise such as biostatistics or genetic analysis can be helpful to the career of a marine mammalogist, according to NOAA.

Most marine mammalogists work for the US federal government. Commercial fisheries, aquariums, zoos and animal welfare organizations also hire marine mammalogists. Jobs in this specialization pay an average of $30,000-$40,000 per year.

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These four jobs are all fantastic options for college graduates who hold degrees in marine biology. When you're job hunting after graduation, you'll definitely want to search for job openings in these specializations in addition to just searching for marine biologist jobs. We hope this satisfies your curiosity about the availability of excellent careers in marine biology.