Aquarium jobs


Mar 15, 2005
I didnt know where else to stick this question so I put it here, I thought someone around here might know or perhaps be able to point me in the right direction.
What type of degree would one need to work at either an aquarium or a place like Sea World. Not as an animal trainer but in some other capacity. At the risk of sounding sophomoric, in a position like Steve Erwin but at an aquarium taking care of animals and such.
Having actually taken a behind the scenes tour of the facilities at Sea World Orlando, I have asked this question a few times. The general consensus is a degree in some related biological science if you are planning in any way to work with animals. Marine biology/ zoology is a good start, but oceanography is also a good start.

Also, make sure you want to do this. Like I've told several people in the past, the sciences are hard paths to follow and require much sacrifice on your part. Is it worth it? Well, you decide.

Hope this helps!

Any general B.S. (bachelor of sciences, not the other one) degree will be fine to get you in the door...if you want to do something in the public relations end of things, like Irwin (hack, gag, I can barely say that name), you might want to get an associate's degree or minor in Theater or Journalism...both offer the same classes in how to hold yourself in front of a camera or audience...and are necessary !!!!

I would look into marine biology. Oceanography is a broad subject which has many sections such as pysical, geological, biological, chemical.... but does not look into the life history of the animals as much. You could also do aquaculture/mariculture which would also be very useful. It all depends on what you want to do. The problem with marine biology is that it usually does not go into the keeping of marine fish/inverts. You usually have to take aquaculture/mariculture classes for that info.
MBG has a good point...if you want to work with the fish, you are going to want to have a good base degree in marine something or other...if you want to work with the public, like Irwin, you are going to want to pursue another degree...
marinebio_guy said:
Yeah, If you look at the trainers/people doing the shows at sea world they are theatric or animal behavior majors.

I always thought that was the same thing !!! :lol:
If they ever confirm that the thing they found with their remote sensing techniques is indeed Atlantis, maybe schools will start offering Anthropological Oceanography degrees, eh?

Seems to me that the key to landing an aquarium job would be lots of internships and/or lots of volunteer husbandy work and such. I'm not in a position to know, but I would think being able to prove that you have taken care of animals successfully would be just as important, if not more important than anything you discussed in a classroom. Choosing a related degree path would certainly help, because you're going to have to learn a lot of that stuff to do your job successfully anyway, but I think it would be nearly impossible for another applicant to beat a candidate who has proven s/he can and has done the job successfully, no matter what degree(s) they have. Does that sound reasonable?
That is somewhat correct. I worked at several aquarium shops in high school, and then in college I started working for the NRCC and a few other aquarium places, hands on experiance is best. But it is marine biology/science degree that will give you the big picture that you will not learn working at an aquarium shop. So in the end to be competative in your field you need both. Also as in most fields it's who you know that well help you along so try to make contacts.
We have staff with a broad range of backgrounds!! The first qualifiaction required is a love of animals coupled with a willingness to get wet and dirty (for little pay!) !!!

Some of our staff are grad students in zoology/marine science, some who have a fishing background (but who have seen the light!) and an artist who used to work at the albatross colony!


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