How to be an aquarist?

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Aquarists care for fish and aquatic species in freshwater and saltwater environments. A good scientific foundation, practical experience, and higher education are beneficial. Internships and physical demands should also be considered.

For those who love fish or marine life, the job of an aquarist, or an aquarium attendant, can seem like a dream position. These individuals are responsible for monitoring and caring for fish and other aquatic species in both freshwater and saltwater environments. If you want to become an aquarist, the most important thing to do is study life sciences in school. After that, finding hands-on experience, perhaps even helping out at a pet store or landing stages, would be another good place to start.

While the process of becoming an aquarist is usually not difficult, it does start with a good scientific foundation. Aquarists must often determine which species would do well in an environment together, monitor water quality, feed, and even provide some basic medical care to the animals from time to time. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with at least some of these basic areas is a good start for anyone with a goal of becoming an aquarist. Even in high school, sciences such as biology and chemistry are offered. Some schools may even offer marine biology.

One of the most important steps you need to complete in the process of becoming an aquarist is simply finishing high school. Approximately half of all hobbyists have a high school diploma or less. Thus, higher education may not be as important as practical experience in getting an entry-level job. Despite this, you will likely earn more and find it easier to become an aquarist if you have a solid education that includes science and at least some college. If you plan on working in more sophisticated aquariums and displays, higher education may be a requirement.

If you decide to go ahead and continue your education at college, there are several paths you can take to graduate. Aquaculture or marine biology are popular avenues for this field, especially if your goal is to be a marine aquarist. Environmental toxicology along with ecotourism and recreation can also be beneficial avenues, as long as they are mixed with a good amount of aquatic and life science courses.

Internships can also be a great way to get some hands-on experience and network. If you’re lucky enough to have a large aquarium in your area, check out what types of programs they might offer. Otherwise, even working at a local pet store as a pet caretaker can provide some experience and serve as a resume builder.

The other thing to consider is the physical demands of the job. While they generally do not tax individuals in good health, they may deter some individuals from this type of work. Anyone wishing to become a hobbyist should understand that the job will likely involve some lifting, standing for prolonged periods, bending and bending. In some cases, on very large screens, a scuba certification may be required.

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