If you love the ocean, the beach, and all things marine life then becoming a marine biologist might just be your dream job. With that said, what exactly does it take to land your dream job as a marine biologist?
This may seem like an easy question to answer, but multiple factors come into play when looking for a career as a scientist in this field including education level, experience level and location.
In this article we will go over what it takes to become a marine biologist so that you can start planning out your own path toward making this dream job come true!
Get A Degree In Marine Biology
When it comes to landing a job in marine biology, the first thing you’ll need is an undergraduate degree. While there are some ways to get started without formal education (see How to Become a Marine Biologist Without a Degree), these positions are fairly rare.
If you want to be able to apply for the most lucrative jobs in marine biology and pursue your passion full time, getting a degree is key.
In order to become an entry-level marine biologist, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree (BS), but many employers prefer candidates who have completed at least one additional year of study beyond their BS.
If this sounds like something that interests you, consider pursuing further degrees such as master’s (MS) or doctoral programs (PhD).
Participate In Summer Programs
Summer programs are an excellent way to gain experience and get your foot in the door. Summer programs often pay well, which is a wonderful perk since you’ll likely be living on a very tight budget while living away from home.
Plus, it’s great for networking and meeting people who are interested in marine biology (you never know who will end up hiring you!).
If you’re lucky enough to find a summer program that allows for extensive research projects and hands-on experience in the field, go for it!
You may also be able to work on student-led research projects with faculty members at your school during the school year if there isn’t anything going on during breaks or summers.
Do Internships And Volunteer Work
Internships and volunteer work will give you experience, help you get your foot in the door, and let you meet people who can help further your career.
If you’re trying to break into the field of marine biology, internships and volunteer work are good ways to gain valuable experience.
Internships usually last for only a few months or even weeks, but they allow students to gain an understanding of what it’s like working in their desired profession.
Volunteer work can be just as beneficial because it gives them an opportunity to work hands-on with animals or plants while still being able to put their education into practice.
Take An Extra Course
Take an extra course. If you’re a biology major who is thinking about becoming a marine biologist, consider taking an extra course in your major that isn’t required of all students but is related to marine biology.
For example, if you are taking Introduction to Biology II as part of your core curriculum, take Marine Biology I as well; this will make it easier for you to transition into graduate school when the time comes for applications!
Take a related course in another field. This could be another science or even an art class; there are plenty of institutions that offer courses on marine wildlife conservation through programs.
Like those offered by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) or the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). These types of programs often come with scholarships too!
Read articles or books related to marine biology topics so that they become part of your daily life and routine – this way when applying for jobs later down the line there will not be any surprises when asked questions regarding these topics during interviews 🙂
Take Noncredit Courses
You can also take classes at your local community college or university. These courses are usually given credit, but they’re offered outside of the regular semester schedule and often provide a more cost-effective learning environment than traditional full-time courses.
These classes are also typically less competitive and easier to get into, so you’ll have more flexibility in choosing when to take them.
Even though they’re not necessarily required for your major, these noncredit classes can be a great way to get experience working on marine biology projects.
And learn new skills beyond what is covered in a typical class curriculum (and some schools even offer academic credit for these types of experiences).
If you’re interested in marine science but don’t want to commit yourself full-time yet, taking noncredit courses might be just the thing!
Join Professional Organizations
To maximize your chances of landing a job, you’ll want to get involved with professional marine biologist associations. Organizations like these are great for networking and getting advice from other marine biologists working in the field.
You can find them by searching through career websites or looking at industry publications, such as OCOS or Oceanography Magazine.
Make sure that you join one that is right for you for example if you want to focus on conservation biology or fisheries management rather than research, find an organization that aligns with those interests.
Once you have found an organization that interests you, attend events and meet other members! They will be able to provide guidance about how best to increase your odds of getting hired as well.
Apply For Grants And Fellowships
In addition to a degree in marine biology and some related work experience, you may also want to consider applying for grants and fellowships that will help you hone your skills.
These awards are an excellent way for young scientists to gain valuable experience as they begin their careers.
You can apply for them during your education or after graduation, from your home institution or from a different one (or more than one), and through government agencies or private organizations.
Attend International Conferences
As a marine biologist, there are several opportunities to attend international conferences. These conferences can help you network with other scientists in your field, learn from their research and improve your own work.
When applying for these conferences, make sure that you submit abstracts early and follow all submission guidelines carefully.
When attending the conference itself, make sure that you have time scheduled for discussion with other researchers in attendance as well as time blocked off for presenting at the poster session.
Learn To Write Scientific Articles
Writing articles is an important part of the job of being a marine biologist. You might write an article for a scientific journal, popular magazine, newspaper, blog or podcast. You’ll also need to learn how to write for videos and social media.
You can get help with writing from people in your field who are already successful at it. For example: if you’re interested in writing popular science articles (or anything else) then talk with your peers about their experience and advice.
Learn How To Speak Publically About Your Work
Practice public speaking. The most common way to build your public speaking skills is by practicing in front of a mirror, but this may not always be the best option. Another good practice method is to get feedback from friends and family members.
This can be done by having them watch you do some practice speeches, or just asking them for their opinions on what you said during the speech.
You might also consider videotaping yourself when practicing so that you can then review it later and see where there are areas for improvement.
Another great way to practice public speaking is by giving presentations at conferences or seminars held by organizations or groups related to marine biology such as research institutions, universities and aquariums (especially those with aquaria).
Many of these organizations offer opportunities for students through awards such as those offered through National Undergraduate Research Award Program (NURAP).
In addition, many organizations also offer internships which provide additional experience working within their field of study as well as help with writing resumes if interested in pursuing employment after graduation!
Earn Your Certification
It can be helpful to become certified in marine biology. The certification process is a great way to demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the field, and it also shows that you have the skills and knowledge required for success.
Certification is especially important if you are looking for employment within a specific niche area of marine biology, such as working with whales or other cetaceans (the order of animals that includes whales).
It’s also important if you’re hoping to work in government agencies like NOAA or local groups like state parks departments. Certification will show that your resume meets the minimum requirements for these types of jobs and may even help get your foot in the door!
Keep Researching The Career Process For Marine Biologists
Researching the career process for marine biologists is important because it helps you understand what you need to know and do in order to have a successful career.
You will learn about the different levels of education required, the different types of jobs available, and the different ways that people can find work in this field.
Before we get into all that though, let’s start with Marine Biology 101:
What exactly does a marine biologist do? Well…they study animals that live in oceans! This can include fish or other marine life such as corals or plankton.
They also might study how these underwater creatures interact with each other or their environment (the water). Some marine biologists take samples from oceans so they can study what these animals are made out of on a microscopic level too!
You Need The Education And The Experience
To become a marine biologist, you need to have a degree in marine biology. This doesn’t mean you will be an expert at the job, but it does mean that you can communicate with other experts in your field and learn from them.
It also means that you have some experience working with marine animals, which will make your application stand out when compared to those of someone who has never studied or worked closely with fish before.
You should also have good communication skills so that you can explain your ideas clearly both verbally and written down on paper (or digitally).
Good people skills are important because often there is tension between different groups of people working together on projects or even just within one team of workers themselves;
Being able to resolve these conflicts without causing any lasting damage would indicate good leadership qualities as well as understanding how things work within organizations/society in general
When you’re ready to apply for your dream marine biology job, you’ll need a solid resume and cover letter to help your application stand out. Remember that your experience should be documented.
So potential employers can see how much time you spent doing research, volunteering at a local aquarium or beach cleanup group (or any other relevant position), and volunteering abroad in exotic locations like Hawaii or Tijuana!