A shark biologist is a scientist who has made the study of sharks their area of expertise. Professionals in the marine science sector who are looking to specialize in their subject may find this to be the ideal employment, as it entails both technical obligations and hands-on experience. The steps you need to do so are covered in this article about shark biologists.
These are some key steps to becoming a shark scientist:
- Choose science-related electives during high school.
High school is an ideal time to begin training for a career as a shark scientist by completing rigorous scientific classes and related electives. This can help you build a foundational knowledge of shark biology and research techniques at a young age. To begin your studies in marine science, you might, for instance, sign up for an AP Biology course or choose an elective in wildlife biology during your senior year of high school.
- Get a bachelor’s degree.
A bachelor’s degree is the next logical step. Completing a degree program might pave the way for further study in your area of interest or even an advanced degree. Since shark biology is a branch of marine biology, many applicants choose to concentrate in marine biology or marine science in college. More advanced topics in marine biology, such as species identification, viewing wildlife in their native habitats, and securely collecting samples from a variety of maritime ecosystems, can be covered in these types of programs.
- Earn an advanced degree
It’s recommended to start working on a master’s degree as soon as possible after completing a bachelor’s degree, as most shark biologists have them. This is due to the fact that scientists frequently engage in cutting-edge research initiatives that call for specialized knowledge and expertise, and that earning a doctorate might provide you with grounding in the fundamentals you may need in the future. Earning a Ph.D. is a good option if you wish to teach at the university level or do research at the highest levels.
Most prospective shark biologists study biology or zoology, while closely related fields like microbiology and oceanography are also viable options. Masters degrees in marine science, marine ecology, or marine biology are offered by a variety of specialist programs that attract a large pool of applicants.
- Work in the field to get experience
Gain relevant work experience as soon as possible while still in graduate school. You can hone your research and observational abilities, both of which are crucial for any wildlife scientist but especially so for aspiring shark biologists. Look for entry-level positions as a lab technician or research assistant in marine science to get your foot in the door. Interning under a seasoned shark scientist is another great method to learn the ropes and see how the profession is practiced in the real world.
Participating in ocean-related volunteer projects, such as cleanups or research, is another way to get in touch with the sea and its inhabitants.
- Start looking for careers in shark biology
Once you’ve honed your skills and are certain of your knowledge, you can begin looking for positions as a shark biologist. The majority of the shark research community is employed by or funded by academic institutions, government agencies, and private corporations. Some shark biologists work in museums and aquariums where they may share their knowledge with the public. To find available jobs, you can also utilize a search engine or a website dedicated to the task.
Career prospects and salary for shark scientists.
We do not include salaries for “shark biologists,” but we do list salaries for “marine biologists,” which is essentially the same thing. As of the year 2016, marine biologists earned a median annual salary of $50,159 across the country. Salary for biologists varies widely by location, with the highest average salary found in Boston, Massachusetts, at $57,181. Employee perks for these experts often include a 401(k) with company matching, health insurance, and vacation time.
However, the BLS does publish information on the labor market for zoologists and wildlife biologists in general, which includes shark biologists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 5 percent increase in the workforce by 2030. The Bureau of Labor Statistics attributes this surge to the rising awareness of the need of safeguarding wildlife. In addition, they point out that new vacancies may appear as professionals leave the field or retire.