Education and Training Requirements

High School

Most jobs in aquaculture require a bachelor's degree, so follow a college preparatory plan of English, history, government, foreign language, and other courses recommended by your guidance counselor. Take science courses, particularly biology courses, to prepare for a marine science, aquaculture, or biology college program. Some management experience is also important, so take courses in business and accounting.

Postsecondary Training

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for jobs in aquaculture beyond the laborer or assistant level. Researchers usually have an advanced degree in their specialty. Jobs in aquaculture tend to be more plentiful than jobs with fish and wildlife management agencies (which are very tough to get), but the educational requirements are basically the same. Without a bachelor's degree, it is very difficult to find work at the professional level. In part, fish farming is more complicated today, given new understanding of ecology (such as how one organism impacts another), fish genetics (such as how fish adapt themselves genetically to a natural environment), and other areas. A bachelor's degree in fish and wildlife biology, including at least one internship, is the primary path into this field. A minor in business or accounting may also be valuable to a prospective aquaculturist. The World Aquaculture Society offers a list of postsecondary aquaculture and related training programs at its Web site,

Other Education or Training

The American Fisheries Society offers a variety of continuing education courses that may be useful to aquaculturists. Recent classes included "Water Quality for Fisheries Professionals," "Effective Communication Skills, and "Fish Genetics." Contact the society for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The American Fisheries Society offers certification to fishery science professionals. A certain number of hours of work and educational experience plus a written test are necessary. Both private and government fish professionals obtain these certifications. In some areas, they are required for obtaining some positions and for receiving raises and promotions.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Internships, volunteering, and part-time jobs in aquaculture will provide useful experience to aspiring aquaculturists.

You should be people-oriented because you'll often work with private market suppliers, the public, and politicians. Good writing skills will come in handy in some positions, as will business and administrative skills like budgeting. A knowledge of computer modeling and statistics can help in newer areas like harvest management and population dynamics.