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The Marine Biologist
If you intend to do research as a marine biologist, you need to finish college with a Bachelor of Science degree (4 years) at the very least, preferably from a known university offering specialization in marine sciences. Having this degree will allow you to work as a lab technician or on a ship running samples. You may also be assigned as a scientist. It is recommended that you have good grades in high school too.
A bachelor's degree is not actually enough qualification to permit you to work as a scientist wherein you do your own research. You will need to get a master's degree at the very least, but given the current employment conditions, you will also need a PhD in Marine Biology, lasting 4 to 5 years. As soon as you finish the PhD, you will be required to spend 3 to 4 years more in positions referred to as post-doctoral fellow. You can be hired as a temporary contract position by a scientist to run a part of the research semi-independently. As soon as you complete the stage, you will be considered qualified enough to be hired by a government agency, university or private research group.
Things to Do
As a marine biologist, you need to perform an active research program which includes publishing the results in peer-reviewed journals. You are also expected to review documents from other existing researchers in your field. If you are currently employed in a university, you will be tasked to teach, as well as supervise the training of research students at the PhD and Master's level. You will need to be an active member of the community, such as joining committees in the academic department. You may also be tasked to apply for research grants. Funds are highly needed to do research.
About the Course and Other Requirements
Marine Biology is usually a major course in many universities. You can also choose to specialize further by going for areas like benthic biology or living on the ocean bottom, ichthyology or fish studies, etc. It is important to have a very keen mind, as well as the ability to be meticulous and careful. A lot of research will need you to repeat the same work again and again. Majority of scientific research does not lead to awards. You have to be patient with the developments. You will need to have a lot of positive reinforcement to stick to the course for the long term.
Tips to Get In
Always aim for good grades to stay competitive and possibly get scholarships. Focus on your writing skills and train more in your maths and computer programs. You should always volunteer as an assistant if the opportunity comes up, since what you learned in university may not entirely be the same as the actual job you will be performing once you get out of school. You will adjust to the situation more as you get more experience.
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