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Ichthyologist (Fish Biologist)


Description: An ichthyologist, or fish scientist, researches different species of fish. They study their history, behavior, growth patterns, and ecosystems, collect and record field data, and write research proposals. 

Knowledge Required: Ichthyology requires knowledge of anatomy, ecology, physiology, statistics and mathematics, biochemistry, cellular biology, and genetics. They must be familiar with lab equipment, computer science, and a variety of different research methods and techniques.

Skills:  Attention-to-detail, communication, critical-thinking, emotional stamina and stability, physical fitness, observation, problem-solving, and writing.

Career Path: Ichthyology requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field for entry-level positions, and a master’s degree is typically required for advancement.  A Ph.D. is necessary for independent research and university research positions.

Best States for this job: Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Sacramento

Median Annual Income: National: $57,710 CA: $62,830

Future Growth: Employment of ichthyologists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations.

From the field: “In the end that answer might become part of the general human knowledge, even if it’s a really tiny smidge of knowledge, it actually is incrementing the knowledge that you’re giving to mankind.”  – Moises Bernal

Did You Know: Scientists have explored only 1% of the ocean depths. They believe millions of new kinds of animals and fish are down there, waiting to be discovered.


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