Aquarium Careers

When a career in marine science comes to mind, what do you think of?

SCUBA diving instructor, marine enforcement officer, surf or windsurfing instructor, snorkeling or kayak guide, or spending time at sea on a boat the reality is that lots of different jobs get you involved with the ocean.

For example, did you know that the Maui Ocean Center is not just a place for marine biologists? That's right! Here, we've got entire departments devoted to graphic design, marketing, public relations, education and much more.

So, even if you love the seas, but your tendency towards seasickness keeps you close to land, you can still find a marine-related career that suits your talents and interests.


An aquarist has the fascinating job of getting up close and personal with some really unique creatures. He or she is in charge of collecting, feeding, treating diseases and observing the behavior of animals in the aquarium's exhibits.

And let's not forget the scrubbing and vacumming! An aquarist's job involves putting in some elbow grease to keep the exhibits looking their best. When not working with exhibits, an aquarist is out exploring and collecting animals or, quite possibly, doing important research on how to feed or care for animals.

Educational Background

A minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree in biology or a relate
field is required.

Skills Needed

To be a successful aquarist, you need a SCUBA certification, knowledge of local marine life, experience caring for marine animals, people skills and an ability to work with a close nit team.


A curator has the big picture in mind. Not only can he or she perform the duties of an aquarist, but he or she is responsible for creating themes for and designing the exhibits, overseeing daily duties of curatorial staff, training of staff, ensuring proper function of aquarium mechanics, and collection of animals.

Educational Background

A minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree in biology or a related field is required, many years of experience, as well as management training.

Skills Needed

As a curator, you need management skills, a SCUBA certification, knowledge of local marine life, experience caring for marine animals and creating displays, people skills and the ability to lead a strong and devoted team.


Naturalists are education specialists, who work in a variety of creative ways to teach people of all ages about the wonders of marine science and ocean conservation. In this job, you could be in an aquarium in front of an exhibit giving presentations to the visitors or giving lessons and having students discover fascinating ocean facts with a school groups. You could be out in the field on adventures with kids on a snorkel trip, or even visiting classrooms and science fairs to make learning about the ocean fun for both teachers and students.

Educational Background

To score a job as an education specialist at an aquarium, you'll need an undergraduate degree in marine science, education or environmental education. Try to get as much teaching experience as possible.The more experience you have interacting with people of all ages, the better!

Skills Needed

This job is definitely for an energetic person with skills in leadership, communication, organization, writing and research. Public speaking skills are a must, as well as familiarity with the use of themes in presentations. The ability to speak another language, such as Spanish or Japanese, is also recommended.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Career FAQs