Get Paid Well to Study Marine Life

David Hastings Eckerd


Marine biologists study the ecosystems of aquatic animals and their interactions with each other and the environment. They also use their knowledge to conserve marine life and the ocean.

As with any science, they often work long hours and travel to far-flung places so that the pay can be relatively low. However, they may get paid bonuses based on their performance.


Various marine science jobs pay well, both with or without a degree. Depending on the specific job and the employment sector, marine scientists can be paid anywhere from 19-25/hourly or 39,000-51,000 annually to 93,000-124,000 annually.

While a Bachelor’s degree is enough to secure an entry-level position, most advanced marine science jobs require a Master’s or Ph.D. If you want to maximize your income potential and career opportunities, consider studying for a Masters in coastal management or aquatic ecology and conservation. Alternatively, you can study a marine biology undergraduate degree and go straight into volunteering or a semi-employed position on a conservation project.


Marine scientists can expect various benefits such as medical and dental coverage, paid vacations, sick days, and 401k or other retirement savings plans. They also can advance in their career by earning a master’s or doctorate.

The job is rewarding because it allows you to make a real difference in the world by helping marine life thrive and preventing harm from environmental hazards. Most marine biologists work at zoos, aquariums, nature centers, schools, and research labs.

They may need to travel for rescue missions or other tasks related to their field, which can be taxing. They also may need to present their findings to a larger audience, which can be challenging and time-consuming.

They must keep up with the latest developments in their field, so taking workshops or attending seminars on an ongoing basis is a good idea. These can help them stay up to date on the latest discoveries in the field and how they can translate those findings into actionable results.

Education Requirements

You’ll need a good education if you want to get paid well to study marine life. A bachelor’s degree is typically necessary for entry-level positions, but you can also pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D.

To become a marine biologist, you will need a strong background in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and ecology. You can gain valuable experience by volunteering, working at an aquarium, or doing research in your local area.

Graduate studies in marine biology will teach you about ocean animals’ anatomy, physiology, and evolution. You will also learn about their behavior patterns and how to analyze data.

As a marine scientist, you’ll often be in the field doing experiments and monitoring habitats. This means you’ll need to be physically strong and able to withstand the elements. It’s also essential that you have diving training. You may need to obtain a certification from organizations like PADI.

Work Environment

Marine scientists are responsible for researching the plants and animals that live in saltwater. They work in research labs or field locations and perform experiments and observations to determine what causes environmental changes.

Entry-level jobs require a degree in marine science, biology, geology, ecology, oceanography, zoology, or maritime studies. A relevant postgraduate qualification (whether a Ph.D. or a research-based MSc) is also helpful, particularly for permanent positions.

A career as a marine scientist can be challenging, but it’s rewarding to help protect our seas and their ecosystems. You’ll need strong critical and analytical thinking, a good understanding of marine biology, and excellent observational skills.

The work environment can vary, but most marine biologists spend part of their day in a laboratory for experiments and observation. Other responsibilities include writing grant proposals, collecting data, and preparing reports. Depending on their job, they may have class schedules or office hours that require evenings and weekends.

Additional Information