How Do I Go into Marine Biology?

Cindy Quarters

A marine biologist studies many different aspects of the ocean, including the plants and animals that live there, the currents, and how it all works together. Within the field of marine biology there are many different possible career paths. If you want to work in marine biology, you need to prepare yourself with a thorough education. It is also helpful to get practical experience when possible. In most cases a college degree is required for you to be involved at anything more than a minimum level.

The study of marine biology includes the plants and animals that live in the oceans.
The study of marine biology includes the plants and animals that live in the oceans.

Becoming a scientist who works in marine biology usually requires years of hard work and dedication. Depending on the level of work you wish to perform, it may take a college degree, such as a bachelor’s degree, or you may need to complete advanced studies, such as those required for a master’s degree or a doctorate. People who have completed an extensive course of studies are typically prepared to participate in scientific research and may possibly write books about what they have learned.

Getting a solid background in general biology can be very helpful in going into marine biology. Sometimes, you don’t always need to go for further training if you have earned a basic biology degree. If you have not earned a doctorate, however, chances are that you will be working on another person’s marine biology project rather than creating your own.

For the aspiring marine biologist who is interested in working directly with marine mammals or fish, becoming a veterinarian can be a good path into marine biology. Taking additional classes on sea mammals, fish and other aspects of marine biology can give you a professional edge in the field. Following this route can lead you to a job in an aquarium or sea life park where you are responsible for the health and welfare of all the creatures that are kept there.

If you would like to be involved in marine biology, but don’t wish to become a scientist or spend many years getting a higher education to prepare yourself, there are other options. Scientists need a wide variety of assistants, and for many people this is a good way to get into the field. Get involved by finding a job on a research project where you can work gathering specimens, taking field notes for scientists, or assisting in other ways that may be needed.

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