High paying Animal Careers

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There are many career options for those who want to work with marine life in some capacity. These careers range from training dolphins for major marine parks to conducting marine biology research studies on a particular species of interest.

1. Marine Mammal Trainer

Trainers use operant conditioning methods to elicit specific behaviors from the animals under their supervision. Many marine mammal trainers also participate in shows and demonstrations for the public at their facility. Successful marine mammal trainers usually have some combination of formal education and hands on training in the field. Marine mammal trainer wages vary widely depending on the duties of each specific job, but an average range of $30, 000 to $40, 000 per year is possible.

2. Marine Biologist

Marine biologists are scientists who study all types of marine life. Marine biologists may focus their careers by working in areas such as research, academia, or private industry. Advanced degrees (at the Masters or PhD level) are usually required for positions in the field, particularly in education or research. Salary for marine biologists varies based on level of education. Entry level positions begin around $40, 000 per year, while those with advanced degrees may earn over $100, 000 per year.

3. Fish and Game Warden

Fish and game wardens monitor wilderness areas, manage native species, and ensure that hunters and fishermen comply with state and federal laws (as well as any additional local regulations). Work with aquatic species is possible in a variety of patrol locations such as wetlands, ponds, lakes, and rivers. Two to four years of college is required, and most new hires receive extensive on the job training. Salary for fish and game warden positions may vary, but it usually ranges between $50, 000 and $60, 000 per year.

4. Aquarist

Aquarists take care of marine animals kept in the collections of aquariums, zoos, marine parks, and research facilities. They are responsible for all aspects of basic care as well as water quality maintenance. These positions generally require a four year degree. Scuba certification is also a common requirement, as aquarists may spend a significant amount of time in the tanks to complete their feeding and tank maintenance duties. Experienced aquarists can expect to earn $40, 000 to $50, 000 per year, while starting salary for new aquarists is about half of that amount.

5. Ichthyologist

Ichthyologists are biologists that study fish, sharks, and rays. Positions in ichthyology are available in several areas including research, academia, and animal collection management. A bachelor’s degree is required at minimum to be considered an ichthyologist, with most positions requiring more advanced degrees at the Masters or PhD level. Salary varies based on experience and level of education, but compensation in the neighborhood of $60, 000 would be a reasonable expectation.

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