How to become a Marine Biologist

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marine biologist

Protect marine life for future generations


What do Marine Biologists do?


Marine Biologists study all different kinds of marine life, both in their natural habitats and in captivity. They learn about their habitats, behaviour, anatomy, and any diseases and environmental factors that might impact them. They then record this knowledge and use it to develop conservation programs and provide advice and guidance to industry.

If you love animals and the ocean, are inquisitive and analytical, and want to help protect marine life for future generations, becoming a Marine Biologist could be perfect for you.


About you:


  • Analytical and thorough
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Great problem-solver
  • Attention to detail
  • Curious and inquisitive
  • Environmentally conscious
  • Critical thinker
  • Works well in teams and independently


The job:


  • Collecting samples for testing
  • Observing marine life behaviour, in the wild and in captivity
  • Assessing the effects of pollution and disease
  • Observing and minimising the impact of introduced species
  • Writing up findings for publication
  • Developing long-term programs to reduce environmental harm
  • Advising industry bodies (fisheries, etc) on more sustainable practices
  • Educating the public about marine life and issues


Lifestyle Impact: Moderate


  • Part Time opportunities: Low – only around 22% of Marine Biologists work part-time (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 43 hours a week, which is average (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Marine Biologists’ salary (average) $90,000* per year (source: joboutlook.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Moderate (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
  • Working in the field will require some physical work, such as swimming and diving.


Marine Biologists are most in demand in these locations:


This is a very small occupation, with only around 670 people working as Marine Biologists in Australia in 2016 (source: joboutlook.com.au). Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania have the majority share of workers across Australia. Most Marine Biologists work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry.

Depending on the type of work you do, you might be spending time indoors in a laboratory, or out on and in the water.


How to become a Marine Biologist in Australia


You will most likely need a minimum undergraduate level qualification to work as a Marine Biologist in Australia.


Step 1 – Complete at least Year 12 with a focus on English, Maths and Biology.


Step 2 – Try and find work experience or volunteer in a related setting.


Step 3 – Study a relevant university course, such as a Bachelor of Marine Science or Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology). Explore Course Seeker to find courses.


Step 4 – Consider completing a Master’s or even PhD qualification to increase your prospects.


Step 5 – Ensure you have any other necessary qualifications, such as diving, first aid, etc.


Find out more here –





Similar Careers to Marine Biologist


Diving Instructor




Tour Guide


Lab Technician


Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Marine Biologists do?


Marine Biologists study marine life and use their findings to increase our knowledge and help preserve important habitat.


Which industries employ Marine Biologists?


Marine Biologists are mostly employed in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry.


What options are there for career progression?


You could start out doing technical work in a laboratory, before moving into field work. You might even be able to live and work on location on dedicated research stations.


Do I need to go to university to become a Marine Biologist?


Yes, you will most likely need an undergraduate degree at minimum to work as a Marine Biologist in Australia.


Where do Marine Biologists work?


Unsurprisingly, demand for Marine Biologists is highest in places with easy access to the coast and a variety of marine life (such as the Great Barrier Reef). Most Marine Biologists work in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Marine Biologist?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Marine Biologist is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Find work experience at an aquarium, reef tour operator, or even at a university. This will help you get a feel for the kind of work you might be doing.
  2. Start working on qualifications you can get now, such as first aid and diving qualifications.
  3. See if you can talk to a Marine Biologist or watch videos and find out what a day in their life is like.
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