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Masters Degree in Marine Biology: Salary & Jobs

Marine biology can be applied to many careers that need or prefer a background in biology. Learn about some of the jobs available to graduates with a master's degree in the field, as well as the median salaries and expected job growth rates for each.

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A master's degree in marine biology can be applied to several different careers in research, conservation and more. Some of these careers may require a master's degree in a life science, such as biology, and a degree in marine biology may provide a unique perspective to some of the job duties. Explore a handful of the related careers for those with a master's degree in marine biology.

Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Marine Biology

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $60,520 4%
Animal Trainers $27,690 11%
Environmental Scientists and Specialists (Including Health) $68,910 11%
Conservation Scientists $61,810 7%
Natural Sciences Managers $119,850 3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Descriptions

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

A natural career choice for one with a master's degree in marine biology is a zoologist or wildlife biologist who specializes in marine life. These scientists conduct different kinds of research projects to observe animals and learn about the different characteristics and behaviors of species. They may also study how these animals interact with their ecosystems and how human activities have/will impact these environments. Their findings are typically published in scientific papers and reports and can be applied to the conservation efforts of various species.

Animal Trainers

Although animal trainers usually only need a bachelor's degree, some trainers who work with marine mammals and/or oversee training programs may be required to hold a master's degree. Animal trainers who work with marine mammals teach the animals to respond to various voice commands, hand signals or other signals to perform a specific task. They may train animals for performances or for completing specific tasks, such as recovering lost objects for the Navy. Animal trainers also monitor the overall health of the animals they work with and may help provide basic care for the animals.

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists may need a master's degree for advancement, and one in marine biology may be used for those who wish to specialize in monitoring aquatic environments. The main goal of these scientists is to protect the environment by testing for contaminants and pollution, which in turn can negatively affect human health. They usually take water, air, soil and other biological samples to test and analyze, and if contaminants are present, then they help develop a solution to the clean-up and future prevention of the problem. Environmental scientists and specialists present their findings in reports and presentations, often to officials and the public about possible health risks and potential solutions.

Conservation Scientists

Many conservation scientists choose to pursue a master's or doctoral degree to help them manage various natural resources. Those with a background in marine biology may help manage and conserve different kinds of marine environments and resources, such as coral reefs. These scientists look at how land and resources are being used to ensure that activities comply with current regulations in place to protect the environment. They try to look for ways to improve the quality of an area and ensure its sustainability for the future.

Natural Sciences Managers

For graduates who are more interested in working in a laboratory setting and taking on a leadership role, a career as a natural sciences manager is a possibility. These managers need a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in a natural science, such as biology or marine biology, and years of experience working as a scientist in their field. They oversee teams of other scientists to coordinate their research efforts as they work to test or develop various products. Natural sciences managers keep these projects running on-time and within budget, as well as update the client on any progress and findings.

Depending on a graduate's interests and passions, there are several different careers available that could utilize a master's degree in marine biology. These careers range from research to conservation efforts and are all expected to have positive job growth in the near future.

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