An aquarist usually works for the aquatic section of a zoo or for a public aquarium and takes care of the fish and the other aquatic animals. They are in charge of feeding the fish, and making any dietary adjustments that may be necessary. They are also responsible for making sure that the aquarium clean and the water quality is where it should be. Fish and other aquatic animals need to live in certain habitats and water conditions, the aquarist makes sure this is provided. They will also check for any signs of sickness, disease or injury.

Starting pay for an aquarist is low, about 20 thousand a year, but a more experienced aquarist can make upwards of 40 thousand, depending on the area and size of the aquarium or zoo. About half of all aquarists have only a high school diploma or lower, therefore higher education is not needed. Those that would like to make more money and work in a more prestigious work setting will need a degree in Aquaculture or Marine Biology. The University of Wilmington has an outstanding Marine Biology program. There are some physical requirements to be an Aquarist, daily involve some lifting and standing for prolonged periods. In some cases, in very large displays, a diving certification may be required.

Working as an aquarist may call for some unusual hours as the marine animals need care. Most of the time an aquarist will work indoors, either hands on with the fish  or in an office doing paperwork but there are aquariums and zoos that have outdoor marine exhibits.

Job Outlook

Projected Number of nonfarm animal caretakers that will be employed in 2016: 183,690

The numbers of positions for nonfarm animal caretakers is expected to increase by 17% between 2006 and 2016.


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