How to Become a Marine Biologist

What is a Marine Biologist?

Marine biology is the study of organisms in the ocean or other bodies of water. Marine biologists do many things related to the conservation and study of the oceans and the creatures that live there.

What does a Marine Biologist do?

The daily job role of a marine biologist will change depending on where they work and what position they hold. On any given day, a marine biologist will find themselves conducting field investigations, identifying species in the wild and a lab, collecting and analyzing data, reporting data to stakeholders, or conducting field research.

Earn a degree in Marine Biology

The education requirements to become a marine biologist include earning a degree in marine biology or a related field. 

A degree in Marine Biology will give you an introduction to the ecology, structure, and functions of marine organisms.

Some of the courses you will take in a marine biology degree include:

  • Biology 
  • Invertebrate Zoology 
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Marine Biology
  • Botany
  • Scientific Research
  • Environmental Microbiology 
  • Microbiology 
  • Ecology
  • Ichthyology
  • General Chemistry
  • Physical Oceanography
  • Geological Oceanography
  • Chemical Oceanography

Complete a Marine Biology Internship

Marine biology students at PBA can gain real-world experience and build professional connections through internships. PBA maintains strong connections with organizations related to many fields of study and uses modern technology to help match students with internship programs.

Apply for Marine Biology Jobs

There are a few different ways to become employed as a marine biologist. Government agencies are responsible for 40% of employment of marine biologists, with the biggest organization being the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Other employers include the National Park Service, private research institutions, universities, or other wildlife organizations. 

Some of the jobs available to those with a marine biology degree are:

  • Laboratory Technician
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Scientist
  • Natural Resource Technician
  • Biologist
  • Animal Trainer
  • Oceanographer
  • Diver
  • Ocean Engineer


It takes approximately four years to become a marine biologist. This is the average length of time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree, which will qualify you for entry-level marine biology positions.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of wildlife biologists and zoologists is $64,650 per year. The amount you can earn as a marine biologist will vary depending on your career, location, and level of education.

Choose a University that provides real learning experiences on its doorstep. At Palm Beach Atlantic University, you’ll be only minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and less than an hour drive from the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee, providing easy access to a number of fascinating natural habitats.


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