College degrees are the primary type of marine biologist qualifications. These degrees are usually offered at advanced levels rather than at the undergraduate level. Other qualifications, such as the ability to work underwater or the knowledge to design marine biology tools, can help a biologist achieve advancement. Even so, these are not strictly necessary for work as a marine biologist.
The most basic marine biologist qualifications are educational. A biologist of this type usually must earn a Ph.D. or at least a master's degree. In some cases, having an undergraduate degree in biology or at least a scientific field is desirable when seeking admission to more advanced programs, but an undergraduate degree alone is not usually sufficient for work in this field. A Ph.D. is one of the most versatile marine biologist qualifications, as it represents a high degree of expertise. This allows an individual to teach, conduct research, or perform nearly any work related to marine biology.
In some cases, educational marine biologist qualifications other than academic degrees may be required. For example, academic experience working with maps or specific marine species might be required in some jobs. Obtaining this experience after graduation is certainly a possibility as well. Concrete examples of one's experience, such as working on a paper or dissertation, can be valuable as qualifications.
Attending marine biology internships and special training programs is not strictly a qualification, but it is a benefit when seeking employment. Certification or positive recommendations can help make an individual seem like a stronger candidate for a job. Seeking experience of any type is part of the process of becoming a marine biologist, but experience that is easily quantified and evaluated is easier to put on a resume.
Marine biologist qualifications unrelated to the actual study of marine biology may be required as well. For example, in any circumstances where a biologist works deep underwater, scuba training is usually necessary. Likewise, boating licenses may be valuable depending on the study being conducted. Some biologists never work in actual water, so these qualifications are often optional.
Certain specific areas of marine biology require very special training. People who work in aquariums creating environments for captive species need not only broad marine biology skills but also artistic and engineering skills. Biologists who train marine animals or work with mammals directly require experience with animal training and safety more generally. Jobs within marine biology can require highly divergent skills, so pursuing the right qualifications often involves working toward a specific area within marine biology.