Marine Educator


Marine educators work in a variety of creative ways to teach people of all ages about marine science and ocean conservation. Work in this career is varied and may include classroom instruction, outdoor investigation, and/or aquarium/exhibit presentations. Marine educators range from professional teachers to marine biologists and may work at formal academic institutions (K-16), informal institutions (aquaria, zoos, and/or museums), eco-tourism companies, private companies, government agencies, or marine stations. Many marine educators possess significant teaching and/or field experience interacting with people of all ages, and have gained valuable skills via internships and/or volunteer positions. Internships and volunteer opportunities are important for experience as well as for making contacts that could later help in the development of one’s career.

Education Requirements

Estimated Salary

  • B.S. in biology, marine biology, environmental science/education or related field
  • Advanced degree (Masters and/or PhD) in marine science, environmental science, and/or science education may be required for advancement and/or specialization
  • Depending on the position, one may need to hold a State teaching certificate
  • Scuba certification may be advantageous

Given the broad, interdisciplinary nature of marine education, salaries are quite varied. For salary information, please visit the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn about specific careers:

Curator and Museum Technician
Instructional Coordinators
High School Teacher

Tasks and Duties

Marine educators may have a variety of responsibilities depending on the specific nature of their job. These could include:

  • Developing, implementing, and integrating marine science curricula
    • If in an informal setting (e.g. zoos, aquaria, and/or museums), develop curricula that complement the ocean instruction students may be receiving at school
  • Conducting marine science education activities and programs with diverse audiences (students, teachers, the public, school groups, camps, etc.)
    • Beach walks, intertidal investigations, barrier islands programs, salt marsh explorations, vessel trips, dissections, animal ID, [aquarium] exhibit presentations
  • Answering questions from students, organizations, and the general public
  • Training teachers and students in inquiry and research methods; organizing teacher workshops
  • Creating and/or developing content for educational materials such as websites and brochures
  • Field sampling and/or specimen collection
  • Cooperating with other educational organizations to advance marine education at local, state, and national levels
  • Attending workshops and conferences

Knowledge and Skills

Basic skills might include:

  • Field observation and sampling
    • Identification of coastal creatures and native plants
    • Familiarity with regional marine ecosystems
    • Scuba diving experience and abilities may be useful
  • Education skills
    • Curriculum and lesson development
    • Instruction and program implementation
    • Program evaluation
  • Communication skills
    • Public interactions and public speaking (ability to explain things to diverse audiences)
    • Multimedia development: websites, blogs, social media
    • The ability to speak another language may be beneficial
  • Boating experience and/or small boat operation skills may be useful

May need knowledge in:

  • Biology
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Education
  • Environmental Science
  • Marine Science
  • [Basic] Math
  • [Basic] Statistics

Basic skills may also include:

  • Research and analytical skills
    • Experimental design and application
    • Data organization, processing, and analytics
    • Willingness to work long hours in a laboratory or in the field
    • Some positions may require specialized laboratory skills.
    • Shipboard experience may be useful
  • Written and oral communication skills
    • Preparation of technical reports and presentations
    • Authoring research articles
    • Drafting grant proposals
  • Computer skills
    • Use of computer applications
  • Interpersonal skills
    • Ability to cooperate and collaborate with others

Connections to Underwater Acoustics

The scientific community and the general public have become increasingly aware of and concerned about underwater sound. The ocean is full of both natural and anthropogenic (human-made) sources of sound. Much attention has recently been focused on anthropogenic sources of sound in the ocean and and their potentially harmful effects on marine animals. This has become a topic of increasing controversy, especially regarding marine mammals. Marine educators may thus develop programs and provide instruction on the physical science of underwater sound and its potential impacts on marine animals. There is also increasing interest in learning about sources and uses of sound. People and marine animals use sound in the sea to accomplish many tasks and marine educators may discuss these uses in their pogroms. Since light travels relatively short distances in the ocean, sound is often used by animals for basic activities such as finding food ( marine mammals and fish and invertabrates), locating a matenavigating, and communicating ( marine mammalsfish and invertebrates).

Related Careers

  • Aquarist
  • Biological Technician
  • Curator
  • Marine Biologist
  • Marine Mammal Trainer
  • Naturalist
  • Park Ranger
  • Teacher/Professor


Science of Sound
Sounds in the Sea > What are common underwater sounds?
Sounds in the Sea > How do people and animals use sound under the sea?

Animals and Sound
Use of Sound
Effects of Sound

People and Sound

People and Sound Summary Page


COSEE, Jenny Cook, Marine Educator 

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NOAA, OceanAGE Careers, Liz Baird Career Profile

Maui Ocean Center, Aquarium Careers