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2023 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.

Fisheries Sciences Degrees Remain Stable

#290 Most Popular Major
483 Degrees Awarded
0.4% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, fisheries sciences was the 290th most popular major nationwide with 483 degrees awarded. This is approximately the same as the 481 graduates the prior year.

This year's Best Fisheries Sciences Schools ranking compares 15 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom fisheries rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Fisheries Sciences
2023 Overall Best Fisheries Sciences Colleges >

Best Fisheries Sciences Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Fisheries Sciences
Bachelor's Degrees in Fisheries Sciences
Master's Degrees in Fisheries Sciences
Doctorate Degrees in Fisheries Sciences

Fisheries Sciences Degree Requirements

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.

Prior Education for a Fisheries Program

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.

Fisheries Sciences Degree Types

There are various different levels of fisheries degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a in fisheries sciences to something that takes less time like a . The type of fisheries degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

DegreeCredit RequirementsTypical Program Length
Associate Degree60-70 credits2 years
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years
DoctorateProgram required coursework including thesis or dissertationAt 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. Find out other typical degree levels for fisheries workers below.

Level of EducationPercentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree44.5%
High School Diploma21.2%
Less than a High School Diploma20.4%
Post-Secondary Certificate3.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate3.2%

Most workers in fisheries have at least a associate degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in fisheries sciences have received.


This of course varies depending on which fisheries career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Fisheries Majors

Below Average Number of Jobs
$29.8k 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 NameProjected JobsExpected Growth
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Worker Supervisors49,7002.1%
Fish and Game Wardens7,3004.3%

How Much Money Do People With a Fisheries Degree Make?

Recently graduated fisheries sciences students earned an average of $29,766 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $21,754 to as high as $46,340. As you might expect, salaries for fisheries graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Fisheries Majors

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

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

Getting Your Fisheries Sciences Degree

With over 50 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.

One of 5 majors within the Natural Resources & Conservation area of study, Fisheries Sciences has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related MajorAnnual Graduates
Natural Resources Conservation22,254
Natural Resource Management2,933
Wildlife Management2,449
Natural Resources Conservation (Other)151

View All Fisheries Related Majors >


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