What do you want to be when you grow up? Many people want to be policeman, firefighters, writers, actors, or doctors. These are some of the standard answers children give when asked this simple question. But some curious children answer with a little more decisiveness: I want to be a marine biologist. Many children have visited the ocean, or if they are lucky, an aquarium, to see the beautiful animals that occupy the water that makes up almost the entirety of the world. Fascinated by the otters, dolphins, crabs, and sharks, they want nothing more than to see them in their natural habitat, take care of them, and study their habits. But many don’t know the long road ahead of them if they actually want to be a marine biologist and work with the animals they know and love. If you are wondering what it takes to get into this field, here are just a few of the things you’ll need to do in order to become a marine biologist.
The first thing that you’ll need to do before jumping head first into becoming a marine biologist is read and research what a marine biologist does and what it takes to be one. One of the best ways to do this is to go to marine biology camps for the summer. Though these tend to be expensive, they can be a great insight into whether or not you’ll like to study these animals and may even give you more insight into what exactly you’d like to do in the marine biology field. There are many different types of positions in marine biology, from professorship, to research, to photography, and conservatism. Look for a camp that matches something that interests you and heavily research what you’ll be doing before you decide on it.
Next, you’ll want to focus on earning college and graduate degrees (possibly multiples). When deciding on a college, you’ll want to make sure that your university has a good biology program, as that’s what you’ll want to study. Why not marine biology, you say? The best base for working in marine biology is a basic science, like biology. Biology is a great way to get a lot of research experience, writing experience, as well as have a great background in all of the sciences, math, and research. One of the best ways to insure that you like marine biology is to take some classes in marine biology and find an internship in the field. Though most internships won’t be paid, they are a great experience for the work you’ll eventually want to do.
Lastly, after completing your undergraduate degree, internships, and marine biology classes, you’ll need to complete a graduate degree, especially if you want to become a professor, or a researcher in the field. A graduate degree will take much more time and research because you’ll want to find a program that matches what you want to do. If you want to study conservatism, you won’t want to go to a university that focuses on studying marine animal life. You’ll also want to make sure that there’s a professor that focuses on exactly what you want to do so that you have a good chance studying under someone that can really help you become what you want to become. There are many great marine biology programs, so be sure to find one that suits you best out of them all.
Overall, be sure to pursue your dreams. Marine biologists don’t become marine biologists for the money or the fame—they do it because they love studying and taking care of the creatures that have fascinated them since they were young. Check out any of the marine biology camps to get a head start on your future!
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