Working as a marine biologist, your salary will vary considerably from region to region. Working in Australia can be fairly lucrative with marine biologists earning as much as $108,394 per year. Elsewhere, the pay ranges between $70,000 and $80,000 with American marine biologists earning $70,800 per year. A Canadian marine biologist salary is $78,000. Switzerland’s marine biologists earn $88,594 per year, and Norwegians earn $76,918 annually. In the United Kingdom, by contrast, marine biology remains a research position within the university, which means that students will have to live off low graduate stipends and faculty salaries, averaging out to a meager £31,853 ($41,075) per year.
What factors come together to influence these salaries? We will discuss some of these in the following guide, talking about the various aspects of the industry, geographical location and local economy, as well as the necessary experience for becoming a marine biologist.
In this guide, we will cover everything that goes into making the salary of a marine biologist.
Marine Biologist Salary Influencers
What influences the salary of a marine biologist?
There are far fewer marine biologist jobs available than there are marine biologists, making the job market difficult.Sometimes, government positions are available from federal or state governments. Other times, local governments may have the need for marine biologist work. Outside of the public sector, marine biologists must find employment at various private museums or aquariums, fisheries or wildlife facilities, academic jobs at colleges or universities, or a privately owned research laboratory.
The higher amount of pay is earned by those with a Ph.D., who can earn tenure at a university or another comparable position. The vast majority of marine biologists, however, have undergraduate degrees.
2. Geographical Area
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Marine Biologist Salary in the US
In the United States, marine biologists make an average of $70,800 a year, with salaries ranging from $39,700 to $124,680 per year. Hourly rates range from a starting salary of $19.09 an hour to a senior level salary of $59.94 an hour. On average, marine biologists get paid $34.04 per hour. The also receive a bonus of around $1584.
Marine Biologist Salary in Canada
In Canada, marine biologists typically get paid an average of $74,806 per year, with an entry level salary starting somewhere around $44,000. On average, Canadian marine biologists get paid about $36 an hour. They also receive a bonus of around $1,623.
Marine Biologist Salary in the UK
The average salary for a marine biologist in the United Kingdom is rather low, averaging out at £31,853 ($41,075) per year. The average hourly rate is £15.51 ($20) per hour. The entry level salary runs at £20,901 ($26,952) for post-doctorates. Researchers will also receive a bonus of around £690($891).
Marine Biologist Salary in Australia
In Australia, marine biologists make a bit more than in North America, earning $108,394 on average per year. On average, a marine biologist will earn $52 per hour with a $2,352 bonus. The entry level salary for a marine biologist in Australia starts at $71,241, making it comparable to the average salary in the United States and Canada.
Marine Biologist Salary in Switzerland
In Switzerland, marine biologists make $88,598 on average, earning an average of $43 per hour. The entry level salary for a marine biologist in Switzerland starts at $57,974, with senior level marine biologists earning as much as $108,398. They also receive a bonus of around $1,923.
Marine Biologist Salary in Norway
In Norway, marine biologists make $76,918 (648,543 NOK) per year, earning a total of $37 per hour and a $1669 bonus at the end of the year.
With the exception of the United Kingdom, becoming a Marine Biologist only requires a bachelor’s degree. The beginning wage for a marine biologist varies from place to place. In the United States, an entry level salary tends to be about $39,700. It’s slightly more in other countries, with Australia paying the most at $71,241. Canada pays marine biologists only slightly higher than the United States, offering an entry level payment of $44,000.
In these countries, marine biologists typically have a bachelor’s degree in fields like Marine Biology, Ecology or Oceanography. A degree in Geology can also be useful. If you cannot find specialized courses in Marine Biology, a degree in Botany, Zoology, or Environmental Science can also be quite good.
In the United Kingdom, by contrast, marine biologists are only able to learn a living in the university. This means that, in the UK, marine biologists will have a small stipend to live off while doing graduate work, followed by a very modest research or teaching salary as a post-doctoral researcher or professor.
Marine biologists tend to spend anywhere from eight to ten hours per day in the office. Sometimes, research can take as much as twelve to fifteen hours per day, seven days a week. In terms of the week, this can range anywhere from forty to fifty hours a week. Most people will need to put extra hours into their research.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
In the United States, a marine biologist will receive a package with medical benefits, including healthcare coverage, as well as paid vacations, sick leave, and a 401k plan. Outside of the United States, healthcare and paid vacations are guaranteed to every citizen as a constitutional life, as are paid sick leaves. European countries have the added benefit of paid maternity leave, a right guaranteed by law to all of its citizens. Australia offers paid maternity leave to both parents. The United States is one of three countries in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.
Annual bonuses are highest for marine biologists working in Australia, ranging as high as $2,352 per year, while those in the United Kingdom are the lowest.
Should one become a marine biologist? In the United States, this is certainly a possible career choice, and in places like Australia, it can be quite lucrative. In the United Kingdom, however, marine biologists tend to make very little for long hours of research, making it comparable to any other career in academia. In Europe, although marine biologists do rather well, the positions are often difficult to come by. For those wishing to move to Europe, however, the lingua franca remains English in the workplace, making it possible to study abroad.
It’s difficult to land jobs as a marine biologist, so be aware that there will be steep competition.
While marine biologists can earn a decent living in the United States and Europe, and even more in Australia, the jobs are often scarce and hard to come by. This means that marine biologists will face stiff competition and even unemployment. In the United Kingdom, marine biologists sign up for a long and tedious academic career involving stiff competition for minimal employment opportunities.