Shedia CBay Watershed

From the Blog

How to Get a Career in Marine Biology

If you want to have a career as a marine biologist, then there are steps you can take to reach your goal. You need to realize that marine biology encompasses a wide range of areas of study that all include working with marine life. You may not know which specific area to study, but that is okay since for the most part, all these disciplines will include needing to get the same basic background.

Interest in Marine Biology

As a child you loved everything related with water from wildlife to ocean, you might be interested in marine biology, then you should take science classes while at school, including natural science or biology. By the same token, you can start to investigate what colleges offer marine biology programs and work hard, so you can do well on the entrance exams or whatever other requirements the college and program may have. It is not too late if you decide as an adult to change careers and go into marine biology. Before you even embark on the college route you can try to get an internship or volunteer at a local marine park or marine rescue institution. This will provide you with valuable experience and give you more of an idea of whether this is what you are really interested in doing as a career.


Colleges that offer marine biology tend to be located near the ocean, for obvious reasons. It is a good idea to visit the college of your choice and marine biology department if possible. The faculty can talk to you about their job and about the program and its requirements. Courses that you should take as an undergraduate usually will include biology, zoology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and biometry (biological statistics).

As a student you can get a better idea of what area you want to focus on specifically, for instance, you may decide that you want to study algal life in the ocean. If this is the case, then you may need to also take Botany. Maybe you want to become a college professor or researcher, in that case you will need to take an advanced degree at postgraduate level. You should find out what programs are offered around the country and select one that has the discipline you would like to focus on. You may find another college will be more appropriate for you depending on what research areas the faculty focus on. A professor will only take you on as a student if you are willing to work in their research area. Keep in mind that graduate school is challenging, and you must be passionate about your work to take this path.

Other areas of study that you can enter in marine biology include oceanography and hydrology. If you do follow the zoology path then you need to understand that today there is more research funding in areas such as fisheries management and wildlife management and conservation, than in areas of pure research.  Once you graduate you need to realize too that marine biology is a very popular field which means it is very competitive and you need to excel to obtain a job.