How to Become a Marine Biologist

Marine biology has become a popular field. Growing concern over dwindling ocean resources, increased career opportunities in the field, and positive portrayals in popular media have combined to create this interest. Fortunately, there's a need for more marine biologists!


  1. Image titled Become a Marine Biologist Step 1
    Test out the field by taking an entry level job or internship. Many people who believe they want to be marine biologists change their minds after some time in the field. Entry level positions might include:
    • Field research assistant
    • Aquarium worker
    • Sailor
  2. Image titled Become a Marine Biologist Step 2
    Look for specialties . Are you interested in fish? Coral? Whales? Sea slugs? Would you like to be stationed in the Arctic? The Bahamas? The North Pacific? Would you rather work from shore? In a zoo? On the open sea?
  3. Image titled Become a Marine Biologist Step 3
    Acquire relevant skills, such as diving, small boat handling, or wilderness first aid.These additional skills make you a more desirable job candidate.
  4. Image titled Become a Marine Biologist Step 4
    Get academic credentials. Even if you don't plan to have an academic career, you'll need at least a master's degree in the field. Fields to consider:
    • Marine ecology
    • Marine biology
    • Ichthyology
    • Cytology
    • Ornithology
    • Aquarium sciences
  5. Image titled Become a Marine Biologist Step 5
    Get research experience. This is critical to the hiring process.
  6. Image titled Become a Marine Biologist Step 6
    Make contacts with other people in the field. They can give you advice, help you with research, and tip you off to job openings.


  • If you are young and aspire to become a marine biologist you can start doing it right now. Ask your biology teacher about this field, go to the library or on the internet and gather knowledge. Find out which field you are interested in. If you are interested in saving whales, buy a notebook and start noting every thing about whales, their morphology, anatomy, lifestyle, etc.
  • Start studying different marine species and put together a notebook, folder, or binder to keep your information in. Start with the common species, and later branch off to other species. If you live near the shore or near a lake, go and observe while taking note of what they do, habitat, food, etc. If you do not live near the sea, check out a local aquarium and do the same.
  • Take your personal preferences and physical limitations into account. For example, if you love sharks (an open ocean fish), but get terribly seasick, you might want to consider a career as a shark keeper at an aquarium instead of a researcher on the open sea.


  • Being a Marine Biologist may include being out to sea many weeks or months at a time doing research.
  • Marine Biology can be a particularly dangerous occupation and you must not be afraid of the ocean.

Things You'll Need

  • College education
  • Good background on the particular field you want to enter
  • Passion for the sea
  • Any extra reading about the ocean and oceanic animals

Article Info

Categories: Occupations