How Much Do Marine Biologists Make on Average (Salary)

How much do marine biologist make? The study of marine creatures, their behavior, and interactions with the environment is known as marine biology. To better comprehend marine creatures, marine biologists study biological oceanography as well as the related areas of chemical, physical, and geological oceanography.

marine biologist salary

What is a marine biologist?

A marine biologist is a scientist that is interested in learning about and researching marine animals and how they survive in their natural environments. There are several employment options available, ranging from studying huge ocean species and their diets to exploring environmental factors that frequently influence them. From whales to tiny creatures, and everything in between, a speciality can be developed.

Most marine biologists work on research initiatives, whether it's collecting specimens in the field, accumulating research data, finding real-world uses for the findings, or teaching in the classroom.

marine biologist salary

What does a marine biologist do?

Marine biology is an area of study and research that encompasses a wide range of specialties. Marine biologists, in a nutshell, research a wide range of species and ecosystems in the ocean and other saltwater settings (marine life).

marine biologist salary

While marine biologists' tasks vary depending on where they work, the following is a list of general responsibilities:

  • Examining the literature and research.
  • Fieldwork and sample collection for analysis.
  • Investigating the behavior of organisms.
  • Examining creatures in their natural habitats in the ocean.
  • Instrumentation is being used to track and measure organisms.
  • Analyzing the health of various components of the ocean environment and working to restore ecosystems that have been harmed.
  • Creating predicted data with computer modeling.
  • Consultation for pollution monitoring programs.
  • Environmental compliance is being monitored.
  • Cooperating with coast guard troops and assisting them.

Among the tasks of senior marine biologists are:

In order to monitor ecosystems, guiding agencies and rules are in place.

  • Creating grant submissions to support research.
  • Creating research papers.
  • Reporting on research results.
  • Creating a collaborative atmosphere with open lines of communication.
  • Making research findings available to politicians and other stakeholders.
  • Bringing concerns to the attention of the general public.
  • Identifying the legal and regulatory jurisdictions.
  • Developing and managing project scopes of work.
  • Calculating project budgets and timelines.
  • Creating environmental impact statements and evaluations.
  • Sharing information with advocacy groups.

marine biologist salary

How much do marine biologists make? (Average salary)

How much does a marine biologist make? Many states have average salaries for marine biologists that are higher than the national average. Washington is at the top of the list, followed by Maryland and Nebraska in second and third place, respectively. Nebraska outperforms the national average by 7.6%, and Washington continues the trend with a $7,498 (11.3%) increase over the national average of $66,214.

  • Marine biologists earn an average yearly salary of $32,159.
  • Wages typically start from $24,166 and go up to $71,561.

Average marine biologist salary by state

Median salary by state:

  • Alabama: $55,572 per year.
  • Alaska: $60,043 per year.
  • Arizona: $58,986 per year.
  • Arkansas: $52,651 per year.
  • California: $65,984 per year.
  • Colorado: $56,079 per year.
  • Connecticut: $61,277 per year.
  • Delaware: $68,128 per year.
  • Florida: $53,631 per year.
  • Georgia: $56,903 per year.
  • Hawaii: $63,015 per year.
  • Idaho: $62,021 per year.
  • Illinois: $52,366 per year.
  • Indiana: $58,609 per year.
  • Iowa: $55,511 per year.
  • Kansas: $56,065 per year.
  • Kentucky: $57,381 per year.
  • Louisiana: $56,378 per year.
  • Maine: $61,206 per year.
  • Maryland: $72,775 per year.
  • Massachusetts: $65,092 per year.
  • Michigan: $52,628 per year.
  • Minnesota: $58,133 per year.
  • Mississippi: $52,523 per year.
  • Missouri: $51,529 per year.
  • Montana: $59,600 per year.
  • Nebraska: $71,256 per year.
  • Nevada: $59,571 per year.
  • New Hampshire: $67,952 per year.
  • New Jersey: $59,670 per year.
  • New Mexico: $54,939 per year.
  • New York: $70,239 per year.
  • North Carolina: $47,969 per year.
  • North Dakota: $59,553 per year.
  • Ohio: $57,657 per year.
  • Oklahoma: $66,228 per year.
  • Oregon: $56,919 per year.
  • Pennsylvania: $60,748 per year.
  • Rhode Island: $60,400 per year.
  • South Carolina: $56,292 per year.
  • South Dakota: $57,814 per year.
  • Tennessee: $58,077 per year.
  • Texas: $60,085 per year.
  • Utah: $56,913 per year.
  • Vermont: $64,079 per year.
  • Virginia: $70,322 per year.
  • Washington: $73,713 per year.
  • West Virginia: $61,044 per year.
  • Wisconsin: $57,824 per year.
  • Wyoming: $62,839 per year.

marine biologist salary

Per hour

The national average is $53.87 per hour.

Per week

The national average is $1,304 per week.

Per month

The national average is $5,518 per month.

Job market outlook

Wildlife biologists and zoologists, including marine biologists, are expected to grow at a rate of 5% between 2018 and 2028, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is approximately the same as the average for all U.S. jobs. The Southwest Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported in 2019 that employment in marine biology is extremely competitive.

marine biologist salary

The bulk of employment are provided by the federal and state governments, however there are many more marine biologists looking for work than there are openings. Aquariums, university research centers, and consultancy businesses are among the other employers.

What's required to become a marine biologist?

You can work as a research assistant if you have a bachelor's degree in marine biology or a similar subject. For careers in research, you generally require a master's degree in marine biology. You study biological science, chemistry, math, and computer science in marine biology. You'll also get hands-on experience studying salt-water creatures in the outdoors.

To conduct research projects and teach in a college or university, you must hold a doctoral degree (PhD). Research expertise is also required for most academic and research roles. It's also beneficial to have teaching and writing experience.

marine biologist salary

Education requirements

Entry-level marine biology research employment, such as those at private research groups and biotechnology companies, generally require a bachelor's or master's degree. For academic positions and other occupations that allow you to pursue your own research interests, doctoral degrees are generally necessary.

Many students finish with bachelor's degrees in biology, zoology, fisheries, ecology, or other animal disciplines, despite the fact that numerous colleges provide marine biology programs. Chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics classes are also essential. Working on regulatory issues and connecting with others might also benefit from classes in public policy, English, and writing.

Job satisfaction

The average retirement age for a marine biologist varies depending on the individual and the perks provided by the company. Some people choose to retire at the age of 60 or even later because of the good salary and job satisfaction; nevertheless, this is a personal choice.

marine biologist salary

Job description

Determines the connection between salinity, temperature, acidity, light, oxygen concentration, and other physical conditions of water and aquatic life.

Related careers and salary

Careers that hold a relative job title:

  • Wildlife biologists: $67,563 per year.
  • Zoologists: $57,920 per year.

Common questions

Frequently asked questions:

Is frequent travel required of a marine biologist?

The sort of marine species you want to investigate will determine how far you have to travel. If you work in a lab, you will clearly do very little, if any, traveling. If you acquire a job at a zoo or aquarium, you'll be based there, with the possibility of occasional travel for research projects. If you're studying whale migration or deep sea research, you can expect to travel a lot and spend a lot of time at sea.

What is the work environment like for a marine biologist?

The diversity of work in marine biology is one of the most appealing aspects of the field. There is no such thing as a normal day for a marine biologist because the topic areas one might focus on are nearly endless. Some people examine whale migration, while others investigate microscopic plankton, microorganisms, and even the saltwater itself.

One marine biologist's day can include scuba diving for mussels in the morning, bringing them back to the lab for observation in the afternoon, documenting any pertinent data, and performing statistical analysis (using a computer) by comparing studies already conducted by other scientists. Another marine biologist's day can consist of educating undergraduates or mentoring postgraduate students into the field of discovery research.

marine biologist salary

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author: patrick algrim
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Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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