Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
 
 
cma
 
News Splash

A Career in Marine Biology

So you want to get paid to go to the beach? Well, working in marine biology usually involves much more than getting paid to go to the beach. Maybe you already know this, but we still wanted to start here because over the years Cabrillo Marine Aquarium staff members have encountered many misconceptions about what a career in marine biology actually entails. Here are a few things to consider as you contemplate pursuing marine biology as a possible career.

Ocean science careers fall within two main categories: marine biology and oceanography. A marine biologist is a scientist who studies life in the oceans and this includes all ocean life, from kelp to microscopic plankton to the largest whales. An oceanographer is a scientist who studies the physical aspects of the ocean, including tides, waves, chemistry and geology. Typically, jobs in marine biology or oceanography require a college degree or higher.

"It's good to start taking science courses in high school, such as AP chemistry, biology and physics. These classes will give you a head start on college and an idea of the basics needed for a career in marine biology or oceanography," explained Mike Schaadt, Director of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. "And if possible, start getting real world experience early. For example, the Aquarium offers a research mentoring program for high school students. This is a great way to learn the scientific method and get a better understanding of how research is done and whether itís a good match for you."

Career options depend on your educational background. Graduating high school and getting an Associate of Arts degree (2 years) is the perfect path for becoming a lab technician or research assistant on a ship. A bachelorís degree (4 years) can lead to a variety of job options at non-profits, aquariums or zoos. If you are really passionate about a specific ocean animal or you want to study kelp or the impacts of pollution, then itís best to get a masters degree (2 years) and Ph.D. (4 to 6 years). Advanced degrees lead to careers in research and college teaching. At this educational level you become an expert in your field with opportunities to present your findings at conferences and answer questions from reporters.

"Passion is the key to pursuing a career in marine biology or oceanography," said Schaadt. "You have to be willing to study hard, maybe take out school loans for college if necessary and work in a field that has an entry level pay scale of $30,000 to $40,000 and where jobs are harder to find. But it's all worth it if you love what youíre doing."

Maybe you won't get paid to go to the beach, but there can be exciting opportunities to work on a boat, travel, SCUBA dive or do field research. Data collected outside has to be taken back to the lab and analyzed, which can mean spending even more time indoors than outdoors. "A career in marine biology is exciting, but it can also be tedious, you have to have the patience to crunch numbers, match whale tails or identify microscopic plankton," said Schaadt. "But if you love the ocean, you will find greater purpose in everything youíre doing, which makes all tasks rewarding in some way."

To learn more about careers in marine science, search the internet using the keywords: marine science careers, marine biology careers, or oceanography careers and explore the information you find.

Additional Resources:
Sea Grant Marine Careers
Stanford University Hopkins Marine Station
Humboldt State University Fisheries Biology
Michigan State University Zoo and Aquarium Management
Cal State Long Beach Marine Biology
UCLA Marine Biology
UCLA Ocean Sciences
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Post Date: Thursday, May 3, 2012

Share

Facebook icon  Linkedin icon  Twitter icon 
 

    News Archive


          8/4/2022 School & Group Field Trips (Featured)
          2/2/2022 Sensory Inclusivity
          1/1/2022 Register for Upcoming Events Here!
          5/20/2021 Opening Update
          5/15/2021 Help us "Blow Up" Whale Education - VOTE today!!
          5/1/2020 Discovery Lecture Series
          4/22/2020 Earth Day Poster Contest Sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles
          2/14/2020 Agents of Discovery
          4/5/2018 Grand Grunion Gala Honoring Two Conservation Leaders
          6/4/2017 Pied For A Porpoise
          3/22/2017 Honoring Russ Lesser
          10/18/2016 Sea Star Wasting Syndrome
          9/20/2016 Sustainable Seafood Expo
          4/14/2016 CMA in the News
          3/15/2015 CMA Staff Member on Ship-Based Research Expedition to Antarctica
          11/3/2014 One Million Pieces of Trash
          7/10/2014 Midnight research studying grunion
          6/12/2014 Stay Connected to CMA
          6/3/2014 Tesoro Donates $50,000
          3/12/2014 Delving into Sustainable Seafood
          3/3/2014 Ocean Discovery Kits
          1/29/2014 Sustainable Seafood Event
          1/1/2014 Let's go whale watching!
          11/13/2013 Sea stars wasting away
          10/27/2013 Sharks belong in the ocean
          9/16/2013 CMA Receives Top Honor
          8/19/2013 FRIENDS Announces Marine Science Scholarship Winners
          8/5/2013 Robots Storm CMA
          6/28/2013 Summer in the Aquatic Nursery
          6/3/2013 Stung! Jellyfish blooms
          5/23/2013 Students celebrate Earth Day the CMA way
          4/15/2013 Student Research Highlights
          3/15/2013 World Ocean Network
          2/17/2013 White Abalone Spawning
          12/31/2012 Books about CMA
          12/21/2012 Exploration Center: You oughta be in ocean pictures
          12/7/2012 Camouflage: the art of blending in
          11/26/2012 Announcing a new species!
          11/13/2012 Ocean Children's Books
          10/31/2012 Exhibits and Collections Curator elected SCAS President
          10/12/2012 Aquatic Nursery: A new role for red abalone
          9/23/2012 The CMA Gift Shop: A personal shopping experience
          9/10/2012 SEA Club is a great way for kids to spend an afternoon
          8/23/2012 Whatís on CMAís Menu?
          8/10/2012 Congratulations Scholarship Winners!
          7/19/2012 Become a FRIENDS of CMA Community Sponsor!
          6/8/2012 Underwater Park System
          5/3/2012 A Career in Marine Biology
          1/6/2012 Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Is Accessible to All
          11/14/2011 Inner Cabrillo Beach Survey: You Never Know What You Might Find!
          10/3/2011 Practice Safe Whale Watching
          2/10/2011 New Animal Care Center
          1/2/2011 A Tribute to John M. Olguin
   
 
cma