Becoming a Marine Biologist

Many people are attracted to the field of marine biology and ocean science because they want to work in a research or observation role. Learning how to become a marine biologist is the first step to starting a rewarding career in this field. Marine biologists need to complete at least a bachelor's degree in marine biology in order to obtain an entry-level position in the field. These scientists and researchers typically work on projects that involve researching marine life and the sea, and organisms that dwell in the water. They study plants, animals, and ocean habitats, and are trained to conduct intensive research and various types of experiments in the field.

Steps to Become a Marine Biologist

Learning how to become a marine biologist will help you determine if this is the right career or educational path for you, and what level of education you will need in order to get a position you are most attracted to. Some research positions only require a bachelor's degree but you will be limited to only entry-level positions in the field. Most marine biologists need at least a master's degree to pursue more advanced roles and independent research positions.

Becoming a marine biologist typically involves the following steps:

  • Being at least 18 years of age
  • Having a high school diploma or GED
  • Having a strong science and math background
  • Completing a bachelor's degree in marine biology or a related science field
  • Completing a Master of Science degree program in marine biology from an accredited school
  • Fulfilling hands-on training requirements as dictated by the college or university
  • Completing an internship or externship program to get some work experience in the field
  • Completing a doctorate degree program (if you are pursuing advanced research positions or a teaching position in the field)

Training Requirements for Becoming a Marine Biologist

Marine biologists must fulfill some extensive educational requirements and take specialized courses in the fields of ocean science, marine life and underwater habitats. There are several branches of marine biology to explore, and you can find jobs as an educator, ocean engineer, research scientist or oceanographer amongst other positions in the field.

The education and training requirements for becoming a marine biologist can be identified as follows:

  • Excelling in biology, chemistry, physics and geology during high school and graduating with a high school diploma or GED
  • Participating in research studies or academic programs that involve marine life, aquatic research or working in a marine lab as a volunteer before college
  • Enrolling in an accredited college or university that offers a good biology, chemistry or physics program. Many marine biologists declared biology as an undergraduate major and minored in chemistry or a related field.
  • Completing a marine biology program at graduate school
  • Furthering your educational career by pursuing a doctorate degree in marine biology

While a marine biology PhD is not required for many attractive positions in the field, it can open the doors to a number of career opportunities and put you in a good position to apply for advanced research roles in the field. Most employers do prefer candidates to have at least a master's degree and extensive work experience in the field.