Fisheries Degree programs prepare students for exciting careers in ecology, biology, fishery management, education, and other environmental and biological fields. These professionals are employed by various state and federal agencies, zoos, research laboratories, fish hatcheries, environmental agencies, commercial fishing and food processing companies. They work to protect habitats, regulate commercial fishing standards, and enforce leisure fishing laws. A degree in Fisheries Science can even lead to jobs in genetics, and pharmaceuticals. Candidates for these programs will enjoy the outdoors and aquatic environments, and will have a strong aptitude toward science and biology.
Associate Degrees in Fisheries
An Associate in Applied Science in Fishery offers students an introduction to fisheries science while giving them the skills needed for support positions in the field. Fisheries Associate Degree holders are qualified to work as a hatchery technician, fishery observer, stream surveyor, water technician and other entry level jobs. This level of employment usually pays as salary of $20,000 to $30,000 per year. In many cases these are seasonal jobs which may work well for people who plan to continue their education. Job competition in the fisheries industry is increasing which is making higher education even more important for those interested in this line of work.
Fisheries Science Associate Degree programs include courses such as:
- Introduction to Fisheries and Wildlife
- Principles of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation
- Fundamentals in Fishery Biology
- Fish Ecology
- Field Sampling and Safety in Fisheries Technology
In addition to traditional classroom learning, many schools also prepare students for field work with instruction in diving, boat operation, and water safety. Associate programs usually also require basic computer, research writing, and laboratory classes.
Bachelor Degree in Fisheries
With a Fisheries Bachelor Degree, professionals have more autonomy and job flexibility than those with an Associate’s Degree. They can choose from careers such as Hatchery Manager, Fishery Biologist, Research Scientist, Program Director, and other supervisory roles. A Bachelor in Fishery Science Degree gives students the knowledge needed to hold mid to middle management positions. They will often be responsible for project or department oversight, data analysis, and implementation.
Courses required for a Fishery Bachelor Degree include:
- Management Principles of Pacific Salmon in the Northwest
- Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement
- Aquatic Biological Invasions
- Fish Physiology
- Principles of Genetics
Bachelor in Fishery Science Degrees may also include specialization development programs which allow students to focus on aspects of the field that particularly interest them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics professionals in this field earned anywhere from $29,000 to $58,720 in 2008. This field offers a very wide range of possible career choices. Salary levels range depending on the area of specialty and industry selected by the individual.
Master Degree in Fishery
Master Programs in Fisheries Science provide the additional expertise needed to excel and specialize in a nearly unlimited array of options including Fishery Management, Aquatic Biology, Conservation, Industrial Fishing, and more. Depending on the school, students may or may not be required to write a thesis. These programs typically consist of 32- 40 credit hours in didactic study plus seminars, specialty work, and research problems. Some schools require students to participate in internship or residency programs as well.
Course work may include:
- Ecology and Management of Marine Fishes
- Stock Assessment for Managers
- Marine Aquaculture and Aquarium Science
- Marine Conservation Biology
- Consensus and Natural Resources
Master in Fisheries Science students are employed by universities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private companies. They may work as scientists, department directors, educators, planners, biotechnologists or conservationists. Depending on their chosen profession, they will earn an average of $55,000 to $85,000 annually.
Auburn University– AU offers a 4-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Fisheries Science through their College of Agriculture, Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures. They also offer Graduate Degree programs, non-degree earning studies, and post Graduate studies programs.
Oregon State University- OSU is ranked number two in the country for its Fisheries Program. The course is offered on campus and online. They are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. OSU offers several specialty fields of study.
University of Arkansas- The Pine Bluff campus is home to UA’s Aquaculture and Fisheries Center. They offer a Bachelor Degree in Fisheries Biology and a Master of Science Degree in Aquaculture/Fisheries. Students are offered hands-on teaching through rich research and extension programs.
University of Alaska- Students who choose to study Fisheries Science at the University of Alaska can choose to pursue an Associate in Applied Science, a Bachelor of Science or a Master of Fisheries Science Degree. These programs are famous for award winning research projects and other hands-on learning opportunities.
Colorado State University- Offering a Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Concentration program, Colorado State is among the top schools in Wildlife Studies. They offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs. This school earns a number of grants each year which are used to provide field study and research programs for the betterment of their students.