Ichthyology As A Career Option


This paper gives an overview of what Ichthyology is and what it takes to have a career in this field. This paper focuses on the advantages, disadvantages and opportunities of pursuing a career in Ichthyology. It is meant to guide those who are still in the process of making a career decision in the Sciences.

Ichthyology as a Career Option

The field of Ichthyology opens up career opportunities to those who have scientific inclination or interest in the study of fish.

Ichthyology is a field of Biology that involves the study of everything about fish such as their evolutionary and adaptive history, behavior, growth patterns and their habitat particularly ocean and river health. Such study aims to arrive at new knowledge and understanding of fish which eventually boils down to the well-being of communities and on sustaining life on earth.

The person who specializes in this field of study is called an Ichthyologist. An Ichthyologist may concentrate on a single fish specie or on several species.

Before embarking on a career on Ichthyology, it is worth noting the advantages and disadvantages.


Research and Teaching Exposure

This profession is great for those who love research and are comfortable working with data and advanced software. Ichthyologists are expected to prepare scientific reports and share them with peers and other scientists. Even those working in museums are expected to share research findings.

Many Ichthyologists are also given teaching load which is another opportunity to share their knowledge and mentor others as well.

Competitive Salary

The salary of an Ichthyologist is comparable to the salary of a teacher in other disciplines. On average, Ichthyologists earn $57,710 a year with the top 10% of them earning around $95,430. In the United States, among the highest paid are those in the District of Columbia where the top 75% earn around $126,790 followed by those in the State of Maryland where the top 75% earn about $122,090. The bottom 10% of Ichthyologists earn about $37,100.

Contribution to Humanity

Scientists who study fish are motivated not only by the challenge and adventure but by the contribution of knowledge toward sustainability of fish in the world. As we know, fish is a product needed by humans for food, medical and other purposes.


Challenging Outdoor Conditions

Most Ichthyologists do fieldwork to observe fish behavior or collect samples which they later analyze in laboratories. Some fish varieties can be found in remote areas, hence, the Ichthyologists may experience solitude and encounter adverse weather while out in the field. Definitely, one must be physically fit to meet challenging outdoor conditions. For those who love adventure in the outdoors, this may turn out to be an advantage as well.

Irregular Work Hours

While on field work, hours spent on work may be irregular and extended for long hours.


At present, most Ichthyologist jobs are confined in state and federal governments, in universities and colleges, museums, and private research institutions. This gives the impression that job opportunities are limited.

However, there is growing interest on fish that live in the deepest and darkest recesses of the ocean. In fact, scientists have better knowledge of outer space than of the lives down under. Movies and television programs like the Jaws have also drawn a greater interest on what goes on in the bottom of the sea. In this regard, more and more scientists specializing in Ichthyology are expected to be in demand in the near future.


Just like any profession, there are advantages and disadvantages of working as Ichthyologist. To those who have fascination for fish, have the physical and mental stamina for fieldwork and research, and have deep concern for the sustenance of human life, there is a rewarding and promising career ahead of them.