Best Paying Marine Biology Jobs

Updated on February 26, 2024

Marine biology is a dynamic and diverse field that delves into the study of marine organisms, their behaviors, and interactions within their habitats. With the growing concerns over climate change, pollution, and marine conservation, the demand for skilled marine biologists is on the rise. This field offers a range of career paths, from research and conservation to engineering and education. Below, we explore some of the top-paying jobs in marine biology, highlighting the roles, average salaries, responsibilities, and the education required to pursue these careers.

Marine Researcher

  • Average Salary: $83,335 per year
  • Job Description: Marine researchers study ocean life and the effects of human activities on marine ecosystems. They conduct experiments, collect samples, and analyze data to understand marine biodiversity and ecosystem health.
  • Responsibilities: Conduct field research, data analysis, publish scientific papers, and contribute to marine conservation efforts.
  • Required Education: A Ph.D. in marine biology or a related field is often required for advanced research positions​​.


  • Average Salary: $72,567 per year
  • Job Description: Oceanographers study the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the ocean. They examine ocean currents, marine ecosystems, and the ocean’s impact on global climate.
  • Responsibilities: Collect and analyze oceanographic data, use models to predict oceanic phenomena, and contribute to environmental management and policy.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in oceanography or a related field, with many positions requiring a master’s degree or Ph.D.​​.

Ocean Engineer

  • Average Salary: $72,009 per year
  • Job Description: Ocean engineers design, develop, and maintain equipment used in exploring and conserving the ocean. This can include underwater vehicles, offshore platforms, and renewable energy installations.
  • Responsibilities: Design and test marine equipment, ensure compliance with environmental and safety standards, and innovate sustainable solutions.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in ocean engineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field​​.

Marine Archaeologist

  • Average Salary: $70,630 per year
  • Job Description: Marine archaeologists study human interaction with the sea, lakes, and rivers through the discovery and analysis of submerged artifacts, shipwrecks, and underwater ruins.
  • Responsibilities: Conduct underwater surveys, excavate shipwrecks, analyze artifacts, and contribute to the understanding of historical cultures.
  • Required Education: A master’s degree or Ph.D. in archaeology, anthropology, or a related field with a focus on underwater archaeology​​.

Aquatic Veterinarian

  • Average Salary: $70,533 per year
  • Job Description: Aquatic veterinarians specialize in the health care of marine and freshwater animals. They diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases in species ranging from fish to marine mammals.
  • Responsibilities: Provide medical care, conduct health assessments, perform surgeries, and promote conservation and welfare of aquatic life.
  • Required Education: A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree, along with specialized training in aquatic animal health​​.

Marine Biologist

  • Average Salary: $52,131 per year
  • Job Description: Marine biologists study the biological aspects of marine life, including their physiology, behavior, and interactions within ecosystems. They work in conservation, research, and education to protect marine biodiversity.
  • Responsibilities: Conduct research, monitor marine species, develop conservation plans, and educate the public about marine ecosystems.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in marine biology, biology, or a related field, with advanced positions often requiring a master’s or Ph.D.​​.

Marine Conservation Officer

  • Average Salary: Data not specified
  • Job Description: Marine conservation officers enforce laws and regulations that protect marine environments. They work to conserve marine ecosystems, species, and heritage sites.
  • Responsibilities: Monitor marine areas, enforce conservation laws, conduct educational programs, and work on conservation projects.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in marine biology, ecology, environmental science, or a related field​​.

Final Thoughts

The field of marine biology offers a diverse array of rewarding careers for those passionate about the ocean and its inhabitants. These roles not only come with competitive salaries but also provide the opportunity to make significant contributions to marine conservation and scientific understanding. As the health of our oceans continues to be a global priority, the demand for skilled professionals in marine biology is likely to grow, offering exciting career prospects for future marine biologists.

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I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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