How to Become an Ichthyologist

Written by

Ray Grant Walden


August 14, 2014


How to Become an Ichthyologist Ichthyology is a branch of zoology that focuses on the study of fish. Ichthyologists are biological scientists that specialize in the examination of a variety of different species of fish.

What does an ichthyologist do?

Ichthyologists identify and classify many different fish species. They study the behavior and anatomy of fish and are involved in observation, handling, and breeding activities. They also study how fish interact with their habitats and with other animals. Many ichthyologists perform research activities and gather a variety of data. Some travel to many different parts of the world to gather specimens. Many ichthyologists work to establish suitable environments and habitats for many different types of fish. Others observe the population and health needs of certain fish. They help keep a stable population of specific breeds, especially ones that are endangered in the wild. Many ichthyologists specialize in a specific type of fish such as marine or freshwater species.
Ichthyologists often consult with other professionals such as conservationists, wildlife management, and engineers to investigate how the possible habitat changes impact fish in certain areas. Ichthyologists work in many different environments such as museums, zoos, conservation organizations, government agencies, and universities.

What kind of training & skills does an ichthyologist need?

Ichthyologists typically need at least a master degree in ichthyology, zoology, biology, or other related field. Many ichthyologists have a doctorate degree and extensive experience. Many universities and some museums offer programs in ichthyology. Many aspiring ichthyologists complete internships or shadow experienced ichthyologists to gain practical experience in the field. Some also gain part-time jobs as assistants. Many ichthyologists join the American Society of Ichthyologist and Herpetologists to remain competitive in the field. Ichthyologists must complete regular continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills current and stay up to date on developments in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as an ichthyologist? Job outlook

Employment of all biological scientists, including ichthyologists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 21% through 2018. Environmental changes and increased need for studies on a variety of species of fish will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good with some competition for basic research positions. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace ichthyologists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

Ichthyologist salary: How much do ichthyologists make?

As of 2012, the average annual ichthyologist salary is $24,000; the average annual ichthyologist salary varies greatly depending on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits.

For anyone considering if and how to become an ichthyologist, this is growing field and an excellent career choice for individuals with a strong interest in nature and animals, and a strong passion for fish. Ichthyologists must have a solid understanding of the concepts and principles of ichthyology. Patience, determination, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Ichthyologists must have good communication and interpersonal skills and ability to present their research findings to a variety of people.

Becoming an Ichthyologist Requires Skills & Training Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Ichthyologist? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what course you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Ray Grant Walden

Ray Grant Walden attended American University College and now lives in Houston. He has enjoyed a very exciting career and has experience in a wide variety of professions, including college counseling.

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  • Thank you Ray Grant Walden for the extensive report on the education needed to become an ichthyologist. I am actually not interested in this career field myself, but am researching articles about this field for a project in school. This website has proved very useful for this task, and I admire the insight you have brought to the subject of the matter. Once again, thank you, and I hope to be using College Mouse again for my next project and etc.
    Sincerely, Sadie