How to Become a Marine Biologist in Canada

Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by Team College Learners

Becoming a marine biologist in Canada is all about choosing the right career path. Almost any career in the seas with animals is called marine biology. But when you want to become a marine biologist with Canadian institutions, there are some factors you need to take into account. Join CollegeLearners in this article that will help guide you in getting there!

Do you want to learn about the latest findings marine biology degree? Get ready! Find out all the information you need right here on Collegelearners.com so you don’t have to go looking again. Find all the specifics you need, such as marine biology programs ontario, marine biology university to marine biology courses.

How to Become a Marine Biologist

Marine biology is the study of marine or saltwater organisms. Marine biologists study everything from single-celled bacteria to the blue whale and giant kelp. They are interested in a number of marine features, including the process of marine development, how organisms interact with one another and the ecosystem, and how organisms adapt to their environment. Marine biologists focus on increasing knowledge of the fluid environment and how marine organisms function today in order to predict how ecosystems will cope with large-scale changes such as global warming, overfishing, and pollution.

How to Become a Marine Biologist: Requirements and Necessities

Career Path Guide

To become a marine biologist, you need to begin by determining if a career in this field is right for you.

If you’re interested in a lucrative career that involves adventurous field research, the ability to apply scientific principles and allows you to study organisms in their natural habitat, then this profession might be a perfect fit for you.

Below we’ve outlined what you’ll need to succeed in a career as a marine biologist. We’ve also included helpful occupational information, such as a general job description, a list of job duties, an overview of salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more! 

Education Needed to Become a Marine Biologist

To gain an entry-level job in marine biology, you need to have a bachelor of science degree in marine biology or a related field such as biochemistrybiologybotanyecologymicrobiology or zoology.

Depending on the requirements of the employer, a Master’s degree in marine biology is typically sufficient for many applied research positions. To become a marine biologist who works in research and university teaching positions a Ph.D. in marine biology is needed.

Marine biologists must also complete continuing education throughout their careers in order to keep their skills current stay up to date with advancements in the field.Find a School

General Job Description

Marine biologists are responsible for understanding marine life by studying the distribution, abundance and life histories of animals and plants in the sea, and how these aspects are governed by environmental factors.

Students | Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

Typical Job Duties

• Conduct research for the purpose of understanding the various forms of life that dwell within the sea

• Conduct controlled experiments and observe how certain factors work within that environment

• May work in a laboratory or in the field for the purpose of conducting experiments and observation

• Analyze and interpret findings

• Prepare reports based on findings

• Identify and classify forms of marine life

Who Employs Marine Biologists?

Marine biologists are hired by a variety of organizations, although their ability to find work may depend greatly on where they live. Larger cities near the east and west coasts of Canada and the United States typically employ the most marine biologists.

Marine biologists who have a B.Sc. may be employed as technicians, biologists or educators by the following types of organizations:

• University research laboratories

• Industrial research centres

• Private companies, such as seaweed growing companies

• Government research laboratories or marine stations

• Marine biology consulting companies

• Aquariums and zoos

• Non-profit environmental advocacy organizations

• Eco-tourism companies

Marine Biologist Salary

A Realistic Assessment of a Marine Biologist's Earning Potential

The actual wages and salaries of marine biologists can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors:

• Their level of education and experience

• The amount of responsibility inherent in their job

• The size and type of their employer

• Whether they work part-time or full-time hours

• The structure of their financial benefits package, if they have one

• The region in which they work

• Their salary negotiating abilities

• Many other factors

Marine Biologist Salary in Alberta: According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average salary level of Albertans working in the “Biologist” occupational group is $92,613 per year.

Salary – British Columbia: According to WorkBC (Province of British Columbia), those working in the “Biologists and related scientists” occupational group earn an annual provincial median salary of $74,277.

Salary – All of Canada: According to ECO Canada, a marine biologist in an entry level position can make around $44,000 per year in Canada. With several years of education and experience, they tend to make between $64,000 and $78,000 per year.

Salary – United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the “Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists” occupational group is $63,420 per year.

Characteristics of Successful Marine Biologists

To become a successful marine biologist, there are certain personality traits you need to have, including:

• An interest, curiosity and appreciation for different forms of marine life

• An interest in the scientific process

• Ability to use logic and reasoning to solve problems

• Enjoy conducting research and synthesizing information

• Must enjoy working with specialized equipment and instruments

• Stamina and endurance, applicable to long hours of fieldwork

• Attention to detail and excellent observation skills

• Must have an inquiring mind, and enthusiasm for work

• Must be committed to producing unbiased research results

• Strong organizational skills and ability to keep detailed records

• Ability to excel in a team environment and effectively deal with difference in opinion

Biologists / Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre

Work Environment Typical to This Profession

The work settings, conditions and duties of marine biologists can vary greatly from one assignment or one employer to the next. Below are examples of the primary types of settings for marine biologist careers:

Office: Marine biologists working in an office setting provide advice and counsel to businesses, environmental groups or government agencies. Marine biologists that work in office settings typically work during normal weekday hours.

Classroom: Marine biologists that work as teachers or professors in a classroom setting do so to conduct lectures, grade papers and advise students. They have working hours that can fluctuate from very few hours a week to a very heavy workload. They may work normal weekday working hours with extra hours put in for preparing lesson plans, grading papers and performing other duties during evenings and weekends. Some marine biologists that teach in universities and colleges may teach classes exclusively, or they may be involved in research as well.

Laboratory: These marine biologists spend the majority of their time conducting, documenting and analyzing research in a laboratory setting. Working in a laboratory typically involves working with hazardous organic materials and inorganic chemicals. Marine biologists who conduct laboratory work typically work during normal weekday hours.

Field work: Field–based marine biologists are involved in the identification and documentation of species, ecosystems and habitats, as well as the collection of biological samples. Marine biologists who perform work in the field are subject to a variety of weather conditions and work hazards. Their work may also involve being inside of aquariums or traveling for long periods of time on research ships and vessels.

Please Note: Marine biologist duties may vary; a marine biologist who conducts fieldwork also likely spends a great deal of time in a laboratory or office setting when they are not busy with a fieldwork assignment

Careers Related to This One

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to “marine biologist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

• Ichthyologist

• Microbiologist

• Molecular Biologist

• Mycologist

• Ornithologist


Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a marine biologist:

Occupations in Alberta: Biologist.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website – Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved March 1, 2020.

Life, Physical, and Social Science: “Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved March 1, 2020.

Explore Careers: Biologists and related scientists.” (December 11, 2018). WorkBC website – Province of British Columbia. Retrieved March 1, 2020.

Career Profiles: “Marine Biologist.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved March 1, 2020.

Scholarships for Becoming a Marine Biologist

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a marine biologist can be found on our Biology Scholarships page.

How to Become a Marine Biologist: Requirements and Necessities

By KaranC | In: Marine Careers | Last Updated on October 13, 201968SHARESShareTweetSharePin

Studying for a marine biologist career involves certain requirements and following a lot of protocols. Since a degree in marine biology allows a person to gain knowledge about the entire marine fauna and flora, getting an education in the field involves a lot of steadfastness and dedication to not only complete the necessary qualifications but also come out as a professional and dedicated marine biologist.

It is a long and arduous journey to becoming a respectable marine biologist. In order to take up a marine biologist career, one needs to choose subjects such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry and of course – biology during your undergrad years. A degree in marine biology is the safest way to reach your career goals. You will be able to learn all the necessary subjects surrounding marine biology, which involves zoology and other aspects of biology as well. Your life as an undergrad biology student will already give you an idea of how hard the journey will be.Marine Biologist

Photograph by Jenny/wikipedia.org

Also, additionally it is important that a person aspiring to take up marine biologist education is proficient in terms of his writing and communication skills. Writing skills are relevant in the context of a marine biologist education because a marine biologist is required to draft extensive notes and observations about the area that he is studying and researching so that others also get to learn crucial and significant things from the same.

Another important thing to consider while taking up a marine biologist degree is about the university that offers the course of marine biology. While choosing a university it is important for the candidate to look out for universities that provide for practical training along with the necessary theoretical know-how.

Marine Biologist Degree

A marine biologist must pursue vigorous education to become eligible to work. The starting point for any student that intends to choose this career path is an undergraduate and graduate study. As an undergrad, you can choose to pursue biology or zoology or choose marine biology. It isn’t necessary that you must choose marine biology during your undergrad years to become a marine biologist. It is also advisable for undergrads to pursue courses related to engineers, mathematics or computer science in addition to natural science education. These subjects can assist heavily in your career and will give you more options to apply yourself in various situations.

Students that pursue a biology program will study subjects such as cell biology, biochemistry, ecology, evolution, etc. Students will be able to choose elective courses that can help them learn about subjects related to their majors like marine zoology or marine ecology. Biology programs also rely heavily on laboratory practicals. This will give the students experience working with lab tools, conducting properly in a lab environment and research protocols to follow.

Students that graduate a bachelor’s degree in marine biology can find jobs in the marine biology field, but career advancements will require higher education. Students will also fail to keep up with their more educated peers unless they put in an extra effort. Pursuing a master’s degree is a wise choice for students to gain confidence in the proficiency of the subjects. Oceanography, biostatistics, marine chemistry, ecosystems and geology are some of the many choices that can help the student specialize in their field of study. The master’s programs will also have electives to choose from which can further help the students improve their necessary skills.

They will also be able to specialize in their subjects of interest like particular marine organisms, for example, fish, mammals, corals, and other marine wildlife. Graduate students will also have to focus on independent research for their thesis; this will act as the gateway to their journey as a marine biologist. Research and documentation are two very important requirements for a scientist. Later on, students may even opt for PhD programs to further develop their research skills and knowledge. A PhD is not necessary but having one is very commendable, and the quality of your dissertation will greatly influence your potential employers.

Marine Biologist Jobs

Some of the important organisations that hire marine bilogists in the United States are:

  1. NOAA: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
  2. Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  3. California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  4. Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
  5. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  6. EnviroMatrix Analytical, Inc. (EMA)
  7. AquaBio Environmental Technologies, Inc. AquaBio Environmental Technologies, Inc.
  8. Nautilus Environmental

An individual can look up for similar organisations in his or her respective country to know more about opportunities for marine biologists.

Different Career Options After Pursuing Marine Biology

After gaining education in the field of marine biology, one can take up different kinds of jobs as mentioned below:

  • Marine ecologist and dive operations manager
  • Consultant in marine ecology
  • Marine biotechnologist
  • Fishery data manager
  • Environmental engineer
  • Marine policy expert.
  • Reef restoration project manager
  • Marine biology technician
  • Research assistant
  • Professor in marine ecology
  • Postdoctoral fellow
  • Oil spill response specialist

A marine biologist has several career options, all of which can provide fruitful compensation and great satisfaction of work. However, to advance in the career domain of your choice, you will need to specialise in a particular subject of your field. Reef ecology, the biology of fisheries, marine pollution, biodiversity, and coastal management are some of the popular choices for a marine biologist to specialise in.

Your success as a marine biologist is completely dependent on your experience and achievements within the field of choice. Education only plays a partial role by helping you break your way into the field. Much like other scientific careers, a marine biologist can expect tons of competition. Hard work and commitment are the only answers to success in this field.

Marine Biologist Education Requirements

As mentioned, earlier, a marine biologist does not have a specific blue-print when it comes to education requirements besides a bachelor’s degree in a related science. Further education will act as a bonus and add more value to the biologist.

Best Marine Biology Colleges

Some of the famous colleges providing courses in marine biology are:

  • Duke University in Durham, NC
  • ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  • Boston University in Boston, MA
  • The University of Maine in Orono, ME
  • The Australian National University
  • University of Cambridge

Important Books for Marine Biologists

If you are a marine biologist or are planning to become one, then the following books would be really helpful:

  • The Unnatural History of the Sea – Prof. Calum Roberts
  • Mapping the Deep – Robert Kunzig
  • Spirals in Time – Dr. Helen Scales
  • Vanished Ocean: How Tethys Reshaped the World – Prof. Dorrik Stow
  • The Empty Ocean – Richard Ellis
  • Voyage of the Turtle: In pursuit of the Earth’s last dinosaur – Prof. Carl Safina
  • Reflections on a Summer Sea – Prof. Trevor Norton
  • Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World – Todd McLeish
  • Flotsametrics and the floating world – Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer & Eric Scigliano
  • A Life Underwater – Dr. Charlie Veron

Marine Biologist Salary

Though there is no particular data on the salary of marine biologists around the world, according to payscale.com, marine biologists across different levels have salary range as mentioned below:


Experience plays a huge role in the success of your career as a marine biologist but your early days will not have low salary either. An entry-level marine biologist with less than five years of experience can expect an average salary of $49,000. This is a significantly high amount to earn for someone starting their way on the field. You can also probably earn more with overtime work, extra projects, etc.


A marine biologist that has been on the field for more than 5 to 10 years can expect an average salary of $51,000. This isn’t all that different from the average entry-level salary, but you can find plenty of top companies that pay higher than this amount. If you have the talent and achievements, then you will easily find more demanding work.


An experienced marine biologist with 10 to 20 years of work experience can expect an average salary of $60,000. This is also relative to your achievements and the company you work for.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *