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Does it help when looking for jobs to have a Ph.D. in marine biology?

I have wanted to get my degree as a marine biologist through Coastal Carolina University ever since I was in middle school, which was when I first started learning about marine life. I've known that marine science is the only Ph.D. program available at Coastal Carolina, but I am unaware of how much it will help me when applying for jobs as a marine biologist. It is a lot of money to get and a lot more education, but if it is worth it I will definitely be doing it!
#marine-biology #doctorate-degree #biology #career #science-phd


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Saul’s Answer

Hi Brianna,


You will have to ask yourself, what do you want to do. If you have a in-depth idea of what it is you want to do, then it will shed light on whether a PhD is necessary to begin with.


Sometimes, experience is more valuable and easier to achieve than a PhD. SO here are some examples of what I mean.


In science, there is a hierarchy, especially in academia (research done at universities).


A lab will consists of a lab technician or lab manager. A tech or manager, usually oversees the everyday actions of the lab. You are the eyes and ears of the lab and will usually be the most involved. FOr this position experience is the most important. You only need a BS in science but may need multiple years of working in a lab. The pay is not amazing but it is a starting point. Typically people begin to obtain experience in a lab as early as high school but most likely in college. Reach out to professors that study something you might be interested in.

Then you have grad students. THis position is more obvious. As a grad student in a STEM area, you get paid to go to school. Let me repeat that. You get PAID to go to school. So it does not cost anything to get a PhD. How does this work? Well here is what they do. You apply to a university for the graduate program. You get accepted and you attend. In the first year you need to join a lab where you will conduct your research and experiments. The professor to agrees to take you in needs to pay you for the work you do in the lab. Because if not then it would be free labor. Then they also pay for your tuition as part of the agreement that you will conduct research in their lab. YOu see, the professor will invest in you because they may see great potential in you as a researcher. So of course, in order for you to get into grad school, you need to have a BS in a science field. During this time you continue to get experience running a lab.


Next you have a post-doc. A post doc is someone who has graduated with a PhD and is looking for a professorship. But not always. Many people get their PhD without any intent on becoming a professor. I am currently a post-doc trying to get more experience so hopefully soon I can become a professor and have my own lab. Here you get paid more money but not as much as you can make. For this position it is clear that you already have a PhD.


Finally, you have a professor. A professor is someone who has a PhD and run their own labs, usually in a university. Professors get this position by applying for it. How you become a professor is very difficult and varies from place to place. But it typically entails having many research articles published, being awarded grants from multiple agencies, such as the government, and also have many years of experience, Usually 6 years after you received your PhD. But with this, you get paid much more money, you have a lab to study what you like and want. THis is not an easy position to get but it is possible nonetheless.


So Brianna, you need to see where you want to be within this hierarchy and see what you need to get there. You would not want to have a PhD and be a lab technician because you would be underpaid. ANd you also cannot become a professor without a PhD. What you have to understand is that every position is an extremely important position for a lab to run smoothly. I have great lab technicians who always keep me informed of what is happening in the lab and I also have great graduate students that I know have a bright future in research.


FInd your place and work for those goals.


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