Marine Biologists Salary: What To Expect In This Career

A marine biologist career shows that they conduct research on aquatic life and publicize the findings of their research in both academic and popular articles. In the United States, they can expect a salary of $50,930 while in Canada the salary is lower at C$42,000 ($31,381). In South Africa, these professionals earn R720,000 ($56,434), and in Australia, the salary is similar at AU$55,320 ($42,192). After reading this marine biologist salary guide, you should have a better understanding of the salary ranges in 7 different countries. That includes the impact of industry and experience on their pay, the job benefits, bonuses, and working schedule, as well as the marine biologist career outlook.

That includes the impact of industry and experience on their pay, the marine biologist salary per hour, the job benefits, bonuses, and working schedule, as well as the marine biologist career outlook.

JOB DESCRIPTION OF A MARINE BIOLOGIST 

Before we look at the average marine salary, let’s discuss what a biologist job entails. What is expected of you and what will your role look like on a daily basis? The main duties include researching the many different types of life in our oceans that are feasible for your interests. Part of your job will be spending time in the water, so it’s important that you’re a confident swimmer as you’ll regularly swim in rivers, oceans, and even participate in deep-sea dives sometimes.

A part of a marine biologist’s job is to conduct and analyze studies and send this data to the correct authority and department for the necessary steps. You will then need to assess any damage associated with marine line and analyze what factors could have impacted these. As the main duty of a marine biologist involves spending time in open waters, it’s critical that you’re aware of health and safety procedures to reduce any risks on you and marine life. 

You should also have good ethics since there are many corrupt organizations that will attempt to bribe your efforts and results to get the results they want. The main objective of this job is to improve the effects of global warming and in this current age, there is a huge demand for this type of work. In the last decade, this job has become an important part of society and changing our future culture. This job was once not of utmost importance but there are now many layers to this position.

REASONS TO BECOME A MARINE BIOLOGIST 

Aside from money, your career can help satisfy your life in many other ways, and it’s important to enjoy how you spend your days. One of the most popular advantages of studying marine biology is that you get to spend a large amount of time traveling around the world, investigating different islands and oceans to undergo experiments and expand your studying. As a result, you won’t always be stuck in the same location performing the same task every day but will have diversity to your career. Many people love traveling and if this is something that’s important to your lifestyle, a career in marine biology could be a great benefit to you.

Another exciting part of this job is working with incredible equipment that costs millions of dollars to produce. If you love being a part of technology, witnessing its developments over time, and seeing how it can completely transform the world, you’ll appreciate the opportunities marine biology offers. Also, many people choose to enter this career since you get to have an amazing impact on the world while making a difference to our marine life and improving water. If it’s important for you to have a career in a field that inspires you and has a positive impact on the world, then this could be a highly beneficial career choice for you.

THINGS TO CONSIDER IN THIS FIELD OF WORK

As with any career, there are advantages and disadvantages to the line of work. Possibly the biggest thing to consider as a marine biologist is the dangers involved in your everyday duties. You’ll spend most of your time at sea where physical dangers will surround you at all times. No matter if it’s beautiful weather or there are rough waves, you’ll still have to get your job done. It’s unavoidable to ignore these serious conditions which is why you’ll train for such events during your studies. There’s also a big safety risk with being surrounded by sea life for large periods. Consequently, it’s important that you remain prepared and alert during your job as this is not a field of work where you can get away with being tired.

Another factor to consider with this position is the average marine biologist salary. Considering the amount of work and effort you put into the job, you’re not compensated as much as you’d like, and with all the risks and safety concerns involved, it can be difficult to get your head around this. Also, many employees in this field find it fairly challenging to progress to engage in new opportunities and reach a higher pay grade.

HOW TO BECOME A MARINE BIOLOGIST 

If you’re highly interested in finding a marine biologist job, it’ll take some serious commitment and hard work to succeed in this line of work. First, you’ll need training in education such as undergraduate and graduate courses. When you first enroll in university, we recommend to major in marine biology, but this isn’t a prerequisite for a career in marine biology. For example, some marine biologists find it’s useful to study fields in engineering, computer science or natural science to expand their knowledge.

You can choose specific biology programs and even embark in courses surrounding calculus and chemistry to highlight more of your skills and education. Many of these courses offer an expansive laboratory so you can gain experience working with high-tech equipment and understanding laboratory protocols. Once you complete your necessary work in biology, you can take further courses to focus on specific areas such as animal behavior, physiology, and birds, fish, and more. Should you choose a program that’s specific to marine biology, many schools have an ocean nearby so you are given the opportunity to work underwaters as if you were an actual marine biologist. 

KEY SKILLS REQUIRED

Aside from education and training, you’ll also need some personal traits to become a successful marine biologist. A huge part of this field of work is having an ambitious desire to research. You should have a strong desire to work with data and statistics including having an analytical mind. When you’re in the water and surrounded by marine life in potentially dangerous conditions, it’s important that you have a strong motivation for this line of work and a true passion to make the world a better place. 

It goes without saying that you should be an excellent swimmer and scuba diver. Sometimes you’ll be leading tasks by yourself and on other occasions, you’ll work as part of a group so it’s critical that you’re willing to work in a variety of environments and dynamics. You will also need to demonstrate excellent oral and written communication skills in order to take the key information and research you’ve gathered and turn this into tangible data. 

You’ll need to be flexible because this isn’t a 9-5, Monday-Friday career. Sometimes you could be traveling the world, while other times, you’re sat at a desk in an office. It’s important that you can work in an array of environments and always meet deadlines and important tasks no matter what. Finally, no matter how much training and experience you have prior to landing a job as a marine biologist, it’s critical that you continue learning. With new studies and data out all the time, you’ll need to be on the ball with expanding your knowledge as well as being a part of this transformation. 

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE PER YEAR BY COUNTRY?

Marine Biologist SalaryUSCanadaUKAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa
Hourly Pay$19.21C$20.19* ($15.09)E14.46* ($15.71)AU$30.00 ($22.88)NZ$28.84* ($20.30)Rs 126.92 * ($1.95)R346.15* ($27.13)
Annual Pay$50,930C$42,000 ($31,381)E30,086 ($32,680)AU$55,320 ($42,192)NZ$60,000 ($42,239)Rs 264,000 ($4,057)R720,000 ($56,434)

*These figures are estimated based on the other pay information given. This assumes a 40-hour work week.

what is the marine biologist salary

MARINE BIOLOGIST SALARY INFLUENCING FACTORS

Marine biology is a specialization within the wildlife and zoology concentrations of biology. All of the payment information given in this article comes from Payscale. With the exceptions of New Zealand, India, and South Africa, the pay ranges are from strictly marine biology careers. In those countries listed above, the pay is from a general biology job.

1. LOCATION

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE IN THE US?

Marine Biologist Salary USPer YearPer Hour
Minimum $30,280 $9.88
Maximum $96,188 $41.22
Bonus $20,273 No additional pay
Overtime $1,660 $98.81
Total Pay $29,320 – $97,056

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE IN CANADA?

Marine Biologist Salary CanadaPer YearPer Hour
Minimum C$29,90 $14.375
Maximum C$101,806 $48.94
Bonus No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay C$28,906 – C$82,434

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE IN THE UK?

Marine Biologist Salary UKPer YearPer Hour
Minimum E14,191 E6.82
Maximum E71,015 E34.14
Bonus No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay E14,426 – E181,505

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE IN AUSTRALIA?

Marine Biologist Salary AustraliaPer YearPer Hour
Minimum AU$32,500 AU$30.00
Maximum AU$87,500 No additional pay
Bonus AU$7,750 No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay AU$31,418 – AU$82,642

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE IN NEW ZEALAND?

Marine Biologist Salary New ZealandPer YearPer Hour
Minimum NZ$60,000 NZ$28.84
Maximum NZ$60,000 NZ$28.84
Bonus No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay NZ$60,000

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE IN INDIA?

Marine Biologist Salary IndiaPer YearPer Hour
Minimum Rs 720,000 Unavailable
Maximum Rs 720,000 Unavailable
Bonus No additional pay No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay Rs 720,000

HOW MUCH DOES A MARINE BIOLOGIST MAKE IN SOUTH AFRICA?

Marine Biologist Salary South AfricaPer YearPer Hour
Minimum R181,2017 R87.11
Maximum R309,141 R148.62
Bonus  R5,500 No additional pay
Overtime No additional pay No additional pay
Total Pay R181,308 – R315,378

2. EXPERIENCE

The pay in Australia stays consistent regardless of the experience level reported. In Canada, the pay increases significantly for experienced marine biologists at an average of 90 percent above the median. Those working in the United States will start approximately 3 percent below the median and finish their career 24 percent above the median.

The most common data for experience in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States were those professionals with 1 to 4 years of experience. In Canada, the most frequent salary data was from those with 10 to 19 years of experience.

3. INDUSTRY

The vast majority of marine biologists will work for a university, nonprofit agency, or the government. A small number of them will work for aquariums and museums. The industry that pays the highest wage for marine biologists in the United States is the federal government. The median salary there is $80,710 while in universities this salary is $65,460.

This is an industry that is highly dependent on grants and external sources of funding in order to conduct a research agenda. In addition, it is also dependent on government programs in order to continue the research. In different political climates, they will say more or less support depending on current policies. The highest proportion of marine biologists work in Florida, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, and California. This is logical as these states are all along the coast.

SCHEDULE & WORKING HOURS

The working schedule for marine biologists varies based on what they are doing at that point in their career. For example, when they are writing information about their results or attending a conference, they may follow a more typical work schedule. But when they are in the field, 10 to 13 hour days are not unusual. Therefore, a 40-hour work week is often the baseline for the number of hours they work.

Their schedule also varies based on if they are traveling or not. They have the potential to be on a ship or in some other fashion studying the sea for several months at a time. This schedule can be hard on a family.

BONUSES AND BENEFITS

Marine biologists have a very exciting job and get to research one of the most amazing places on the planet. This could be the perfect position for someone who likes to travel and does not like to work strictly in an office. This is because marine biologists get to research in the field and go to different locations.

Other benefits of working in this position include working in a lab on a research team. In addition, you can contribute to major scientific breakthroughs. The specific job benefits such as retirement, flexible spending accounts, or tuition assistance will depend on the company or university that the marine biologist works for.

The table below shows healthcare coverage by country. The (–) indicates that there was no data available for that particular country.

CountryUnited StatesCanadaUnited KingdomAustraliaNew ZealandIndiaSouth Africa
Medical7575574350
Dental4725140
Vision4225140
None2225435750

CAREER OUTLOOK

In New Zealand, the job opportunities for marine biologists is expected to be average. This is due to the small number of job openings and the level of qualified applicants for these positions.

The job opportunities for marine biologists in the United States are expected to be extremely competitive. This is due to a couple of reasons. First, job creation is often tied to the government or grant funding and thus is dependent on the spending patterns of these organizations. Second, there are more applicants than there are job openings. Even qualified applicants will have a hard time finding a job. To stand out in the field, a student should aspire to achieve multiple internships and show interest in volunteering at their local zoo.

The gender ratio for this field changes based on the country. In Australia and the United Kingdom, the profession is male-dominated at 67 and 75 percent, respectively. Whereas, in the United States, the field is 52 percent female and in South Africa, it is 50 percent male and 50 percent female.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER THIS CAREER?

Marine biologists have a really fascinating and valuable job. They help keep our oceans healthy and study the vast amount of life that truly thrives within the ocean. For the amount of education required and the variation in job openings, their salary is relatively low. However, if you love the ocean and taking care of our environment, then this job could be perfect! Much like veterinarians, you must have a love for creatures and want to protect their life.

After reading the requirements involved and what’s expected of you, would you consider a career in marine biology? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments.

One Response

  1. Hurmine Ridha April 29, 2019

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