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2021 Fisheries Sciences Degree Guide

Did you know almost all Pacific Salmon species are threatened or endangered? Did you know you could help combat this? A degree in fisheries sciences will allow you to analyze this issue, brainstorm solutions, and help create new policies.

This degree will provide the necessary skills to work with both salt and fresh water fish and shellfish in order to help maintain populations and improve husbandry and production techniques.

Along with classes in aquatic and marine biology, freshwater and salt-water ecosystems, fishing policy and regulation, math, and computer science, this major also requires business and management classes to teach how to manage recreational and commercial fishing operations.

A Recent Jump in Fisheries Sciences Degrees

#267 Most Popular Major
620 Degrees Awarded
11.8% Increase in Graduates

Fisheries Sciences was the 267th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 620 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 11.8% increase in fisheries degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 547.

There are 20 schools offering degrees in fisheries sciences in the United States. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of fisheries programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Fisheries Sciences

A career in Fisheries Sciences requires an interest in fisheries, fishing operations, fish and their natural environments. If you are comfortable handling fish and shellfish and enjoy conducting research both outdoors and in a lab, this major may be for you.

A background in science, math, and computers will be helpful, as this career requires a strong understanding of these aquatic animals and their relationship to the natural environment. This career path also requires constant communication with other scientists, conservationists, and the general public making strong communication and interpersonal skills a plus.

The best way to get involved in a career in fisheries sciences is to get hands-on experience through and internship or summer job working with fish and shellfish. In an internship, you will work closely with a fishery scientist or manager and learn about conducting research, maintaining fish populations, conservation, and other skills necessary for a career in this field.

Fisheries Degree Program Entry Requirements

fisheries sciences degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Specific fisheries careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Fisheries Sciences Degrees

Fisheries degree levels vary. Fisheries Sciences programs offered by schools range from a associate's to a research/scholarship based doctorate, which is the highest fisheries degree you can get. Depending on the fisheries sciences degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to fisheries, with approximately 44.6% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for fisheries workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 44.5%
High School Diploma 21.2%
Less than a High School Diploma 20.4%
Post-Secondary Certificate 3.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 3.2%

51.8% of fisheries workers have at least a associate's. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in fisheries sciences have received.


The education level required is different depending on the fisheries career you are seeking.

Fisheries Careers

Below Average Number of Jobs
$26.1k Average Starting Salary
2% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

There are a wide variety of careers available to Fisheries Sciences and Management majors. Graduates work for research labs, state or government conservation and natural resource agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. National Park Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency, fish hatcheries, or with volunteer programs.

The job market for fisheries sciences is steady, but there tends to be more opportunities and increased salaries for students who go on to receive their M.S. An advanced degree allows for more opportunities for advancement to managerial positions within organizations.

Steady Demand Projected for Fisheries Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your fisheries degree? Fisheries Sciences careers are expected to grow 2.3% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to fisheries sciences.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Worker Supervisors 49,700 2.1%
Fish and Game Wardens 7,300 4.3%

How Much Money Do Fisheries Grads Make?

Recently graduated fisheries sciences students earned an average of $26,120 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $24,600 to as high as $29,500. As you might expect, salaries for fisheries graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Fisheries Careers

Salaries for fisheries sciences graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers fisheries grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Fish and Game Wardens $59,260
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Worker Supervisors $50,790

Getting Your Fisheries Sciences Degree

With over 54 different fisheries degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased fisheries school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Fisheries Sciences

Fisheries Sciences is one of 5 different types of Natural Resources & Conservation programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Natural Resources Conservation 21,552
Natural Resource Management 2,842
Wildlife Management 2,400
Forestry 2,339
Natural Resources Conservation (Other) 151

View All Fisheries Related Majors >


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