How Do I Become a Biological Oceanographer?

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  • Written By: YaShekia King
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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Biological oceanographers are individuals who examine how different species migrate and live in the ocean setting. Their goal is to discover how pollution problems affect marine life, as well as find out how to catch seafood in a way that is environmentally friendly. A person who would like to become a biological oceanographer needs to complete at least four years of college training, although an additional two to six years of graduate-level schooling will best prepare him or her for the field. This type of professional should have strong research experience and be good at managing projects.

If you want to become a biological oceanographer, you need to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree in the area of biological oceanography or marine biology. Colleges require that you provide a copy of results from recently taken standardized tests along with a high school transcript or the equivalent certification. You also should be prepared to submit your transcript of high school courses and fill out an enrollment form to begin training to become a biological oceanographer.


After acceptance to an institution, you must take a variety of classes that introduce you to the details of marine life. For instance, you should study how organisms in the sea adapt for survival purposes and how ocean predators play a major role in controlling the population of various water species. These concepts are important if you wish to become a biological oceanographer because these types of professionals focus on how organisms in the water grow and interact with one another.

Completing an internship is critical if you want to enter this career. Your practical experience opportunity will hone your skills in helping to develop studies on ecological pollution while working both independently and with a team of people. You also must work on improving both your written and oral communication skills, which you need to effectively report on the results of research initiatives if you wish to become a biological oceanographer.

Although a bachelor’s degree is adequate to be accepted into an entry-level role in this field, you need to complete graduate school to have the best job opportunities. A two-year master’s degree program will require you to select a specialty area in which to perform research, such as a particularly ocean animal or plant species. Some employers require job candidates to also have earned their four- to five-year doctoral degrees, which require that you complete a thorough research dissertation project on an aspect of the biological oceanography field.


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