How to Become a Shark Scientist


If you love the idea of sailing the ocean in search of sharks or even sitting in a lab cutting one open, a career in marine biology can help you realize your dream. The career in shark research you imagine may differ from reality, though -- the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that while employment for biological scientists will increase between 2008 and 2018, very few marine biologists will find employment doing glamorous field research. Despite overall job growth, the field of marine biology remains highly competitive.

  • Attend a four-year institution to earn a bachelor's degree. You do not necessarily have to major in marine biology. You may, for example, study fundamentals such as science, physics, chemistry and math -- all subjects with which you must be comfortable before you undertake an advanced degree.

  • Research shark scientists who also teach at a graduate level. You must go on to a graduate program -- most likely, a Ph.D. program -- to become a shark researcher, and the person under whom you study is just as important as the school you attend. Look at prospective institutions and contact potential professors and advisers. Ask them if they are accepting students with your research interests.

  • Earn a Ph.D. in marine biology, specializing in sharks. Almost all marine biologists working in research positions have a Ph.D.

  • Seek employment at an academic institution. The traditional route to enabling yourself to conduct independent research is to work at a university level. While some marine biologists find employment in private industry, opportunities to work in this capacity while studying sharks are limited.

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