Careers & More
Careers & More
From marine biologists to engineers and policymakers to educators, NOAA Fisheries employs people in a wide range of fields. Our 4,200 employees support stewardship of the nation’s ocean resources and habitat.
NOAA Fisheries provides diverse career opportunities for anyone interested in supporting our mission. Careers at NOAA Fisheries support productive and sustainable fisheries, safe sources of seafood, recovery and conservation of protected resources, and healthy ecosystems.
Careers with NOAA Fisheries fall into three categories: science, resource management, and mission support. These careers benefit from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and experience. Often, a background in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) is useful for science and resource management careers.
Read below to learn more about the different types of careers at NOAA Fisheries and the people who work hard to support our mission.
Our scientists conduct research and gather data on marine life to help inform the agency’s conservation and management. Sometimes they are in the field or lab using advanced technology to collect data and observe marine mammals. Sometimes they work in an office using database tools and software, building models and showing results. They often have advanced degrees in biology, chemistry, oceanography, economics, and the social sciences. They excel at tasks such as:
- Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data
- Research design and engineering data collection solutions
- Statistics and statistical programs
- Technical science writing
Learn more about some common science careers with NOAA Fisheries below and meet Fisheries employees who work in these roles!
- Data Scientist
- Fisheries Biologist
- Mechanical Engineer
- Research Veterinary Medical Officer
- Research Zoologist
- Social Scientist
Resource Management Careers
Resource management positions support and execute the agency’s regulatory mission and domestic and international policy priorities. This includes establishing policy and regulations and operating management-based programs. Many of these careers require advanced degrees and analytical skills to interpret the science and apply it to marine resource management actions. These positions benefit from degrees in the fields of policy, law, economics, biology, ecology, fisheries, natural resource management, or related disciplines. Professionals working in this field often excel at:
- Collaborating with diverse groups of people and organizations
- Practicing, interpreting, and/or implementing natural resource law and policy
- Writing, reviewing, and editing legal documents and policies
- Engaging external stakeholders in natural resource management efforts
Some examples of resource management careers include:
- Program Analyst
- Grants Program Manager
- Habitat Restoration Specialist
- Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator
- Natural Resource Lawyer
- Natural Resource Policy Specialist
- Foreign Affairs Specialist
- Permits Specialist
Mission Support Careers
Mission support careers serve in roles throughout our headquarters program offices, regional offices, and science centers. They are essential to ensuring we are successful at achieving our mission. People working in mission support come from diverse educational backgrounds, including finance, human resources, biology, communications, education, computer science, and software engineering. They may excel at tasks such as:
- Coordinating external outreach and promotion for science-based programs
- Using science communication skills to inform the general public about scientific projects, research, and priorities
- Preparing budget estimates
- Developing web development content
- Coordinating diverse groups of people to promote a central mission or achieve a goal
Some examples of mission support careers include:
- Acquisition Management Specialist
- Administrative Assistant
- Application Developer
- Communications Specialist
- Education and Outreach Coordinator
- Human Resources Manager
- Information Technology Specialist
- Tribal Research Coordinator
Internships and More
Do you want to work alongside world-class scientists and engineers? Do you want to gain hands-on experience with the latest oceanographic technology? NOAA offers many educational opportunities to students, especially those studying science and the environment. Our internships, fellowships, and scholarships provide students with opportunities to learn about careers important to the management and conservation of marine species.
NOAA Student Opportunities
Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program
More than 100 undergraduate students receive tuition support and paid summer internships with NOAA across the country each year.
Educational Partnership Program
The NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions is a federal STEM education and future workforce program for NOAA and NOAA mission-related enterprises.
NOAA College-Supported Internship Program
NOAA partners with colleges to provide undergraduate students college-funded summer internship opportunities. NOAA provides students experience in science, policy, and science communications.
NOAA Fisheries Student Opportunities
K–12 Career Interest Programs
NOAA Fisheries partners with organizations to offer many programs to give the public a better understanding of our oceans, to inspire youth to pursue careers in science and stewardship, and to reach communities traditionally underrepresented in science.
Higher Education—Undergraduate Students
NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center
This Center in Maryland trains marine science students from underrepresented communities for careers in research, management, and public policy that support the sustainable harvest and conservation of our nation's living marine resources.
Regional NOAA Fisheries Undergraduate Internship Opportunities
We place interns in the following regions, but the opportunities are open to anyone anywhere around the country. For more educational opportunities, connect with your local NOAA Fisheries education and outreach specialist.
Alaska and West Coast
Alaska Fisheries Science Center (Alaska—Juneau, Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, Anchorage; Oregon—Newport; Washington—Seattle) partners with the Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies to provide internships.
Northwest Fisheries Science Center Internships (Washington—Seattle, Mukilteo, Manchester, Pasco; Oregon—Pt. Adams, Newport) provide excellent career training opportunities at the Center's headquarters in Seattle, WA and at five research stations throughout Washington and Oregon.
Woods Hole Partnership Education Program (Woods Hole, Massachusetts) provides a path for underrepresented minorities into marine and environmental sciences. Rising juniors and seniors conduct 10-week research projects with scientists at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and at other partner institutions in Woods Hole.
Chesapeake Bay Summer Internships (Annapolis, Maryland, and other locations) offered through the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, connect students interested in marine biology, oceanography, environmental education, and other related fields with professionals in these studies.
Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Research Team Internships (Orono, Maine) offer paid work study opportunities through an agreement with the University of Maine's College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture and School of Marine Science.
The Inclusive NOAA Fisheries InternSHip (IN FISH) is a new and inclusive partnership program between NOAA and research partners in academia and nongovernmental research institutions. It is a 10-week paid undergraduate internship program in a NOAA marine research lab or marine resources program office. The third IN FISH! class will run from June 5 through August 11, 2023. It consists of a 2-week workshop course available for credit through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and 8 weeks of project experience. Participants receive a $5,000 stipend and costs for tuition, course supplies, travel, housing, and food are also covered. Deadline to apply is February 10, 2023. See a list of potential 2023 projects and mentors. Read more about the 2022 and 2021 interns and their summer research.
Pacific Islands Young Scientist Opportunity is a paid, summer program for undergraduate students at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. It combines on-the-job training, formal research experience, one-to-one mentoring, and developmental assignments for selected students.
Southeast Fisheries Science Center Internships include opportunities for current undergraduates and recent university graduates.
Higher Education—Graduate Students
NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship
The NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship provides 2 to 3 years of support for PhD students pursuing doctoral degrees directly in or related to marine resource economics, population dynamics, and ecosystem dynamics.
NOAA Fisheries Quantitative Ecology and Socioeconomics Training Program
The QUEST program supports educating and training the next generation of ecosystem scientists, stock assessment scientists, and economists. QUEST connects faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates with NOAA Fisheries scientists and provides educational training in the fields of quantitative ecology and socioeconomics.
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Internship Program
This program provides internship opportunities at NOAA to National Science Foundation graduate fellows and students.
Scott B. Gudes Public Service Graduate Scholarship in Marine Resource Conservation
This scholarship is awarded to masters or doctoral students pursuing a degree in a NOAA Fisheries-related discipline whose research has a strong potential to contribute to the advancement of marine resource conservation and who have played exemplary roles in public service.
NOAA Graduate Research and Training Scholarship Program
This program helps establish a pipeline of well-trained and educated individuals who attend minority-serving institutions and earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines that support NOAA’s mission.
Federal Job Postings for Students and Recent Graduates
The Pathways Programs offer clear paths to federal internships, including any available internships in NOAA Fisheries, for students from high school through post-graduate school and to careers for recent graduates.
Other Programs Connected to NOAA Fisheries
The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program
This program is a paid summer internship and mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing the disciplines of fisheries science, marine biology, and STEM-related fields.
Higher Education—Graduate Students
Presidential Management Fellows Program
The PMF program is a two-year leadership development fellowship designed to attract graduate and recent graduate students to careers in federal service.
Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship
The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a 1-year paid fellowship in Washington, District of Columbia, to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.
Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
This scholarship recognizes outstanding scholarship and encourages independent graduate-level research—particularly by female and minority students—in NOAA mission-related sciences.
Citizen Science and Volunteering
Participate in Citizen Science
From tagging fish to reporting sightings of sea turtles, there are many ways the public can participate in citizen science to support NOAA Fisheries’ mission. Citizen science is a type of volunteering in which individuals or organizations participate in one or more aspects of the scientific process. This work can also be known as community science, volunteer monitoring, and public participation in scientific research, among other names. In some cases you can participate remotely by using your computer or smartphone to analyze images of fish. In other cases you can participate in-person by reporting sightings of sea turtles. Volunteer observations have helped inform marine resource management efforts for several decades and continue to play a vital role in NOAA Fisheries’ research and monitoring.
NOAA has more than 60 projects listed in the Federal Citizen Science Catalog.
Citizen Science Opportunities Nationwide
Be a marine scientist from anywhere—even your couch! These opportunities are available nationwide and remotely or virtually.
- Species of Focus: Hawaiʻi’s “Deep 7” Bottomfish
- Location: Virtual/Remote
The OceanEYEs project is a partnership between the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center and Zooniverse.org. Through this program, citizen scientists collect data to help enhance the management of Hawaiʻi’s “Deep 7” bottomfish complex.
- Species of Focus: Recreationally and commercially significant South Atlantic fish species
- Location: The pilot project focused on photos from Daytona Beach, FL but the project is expanding to include photos from the South Atlantic U.S. waters–from North Carolina through the Florida Keys. Photos can be submitted by anyone.
FISHstory collects historic dock photos taken in the South Atlantic from the 1940s–1970s. These photos help to fill important data gaps in for-hire South Atlantic fisheries before dedicated catch monitoring began in the 1970s. Photos contributed and analyzed by citizen scientists help to provide insight on changes in overall catches, seasonality of catches, and changes over time in the size of fish caught. FISHstory was developed through the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Citizen Science Program.
Citizen Science Opportunities by Region
Alaska Beluga Monitoring Program
- Species of Focus: Cook Inlet Beluga Whale
- Location: Cook Inlet, Alaska
The Alaska Beluga Monitoring Program is a NOAA Fisheries-led monitoring program that facilitates collaboration between organizations, communities, and individuals to collect standardized shore-based observational data on Cook Inlet beluga whales.
- Species of Focus: Green Sea Turtle
- Location: Hawaiʻi
Honu, or Hawaiian green sea turtles, are one of the most culturally and ecologically important species living in the waters of the Hawaiian archipelago. Citizen scientists participating in the Honu Count help NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Marine Turtle Biology and Assessment Program to assess the health, migrations, population status, and critical foraging habitats of Hawaiian honu.
New England/Mid-Atlantic Region
Cooperative Shark Tagging Program
- Species of Focus: Atlantic sharks
- Location: New England/Mid-Atlantic region
Initiated in 1962, the Cooperative Shark Tagging Program is one of the oldest citizen science programs in NOAA Fisheries. It is a collaborative effort between recreational anglers, the commercial fishing industry, and NOAA Fisheries to learn more about the life history of Atlantic sharks.
Cooperative Tagging Program
- Species of Focus: Billfish, tuna, and swordfish
- Location: Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean
Initiated in 1954, the Cooperative Tagging Program is one of the longest running tag and release programs for highly migratory species in the world. To date, volunteers have deployed more than 270,000 tags on more than 70 species of fish. The data help to inform international stock assessments of tunas and billfishes.
Do you catch and release billfish, tuna, or swordfish in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean? You can be a volunteer for this program! To request a free tagging kit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 437-3936.
South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council Release
- Species of Focus: Grouper and Red Snapper
- Location: South Atlantic region (North Carolina through the Florida Keys)
The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council Release project partners with commercial, for-hire, and recreational fishers to collect data on released shallow water groupers and Red Snapper using the free mobile app SciFish. Through the project, anglers provide valuable information to help better understand the size and survival rates of released fish. It was developed through the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Citizen Science Program. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council is the only Fisheries Management Council to operate a citizen science program.
West Coast Region
California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program
- Species of Focus: Rockfish and other Groundfish
- Location: California
The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program is a community-based science program involving six California universities, captains and crew from 36 sport fishing vessels, more than 2,000 volunteer anglers, and various conservation and resource management agencies. The goal of this project is to collect data to help evaluate the status of nearshore fish stocks, monitor California’s network of marine protected areas, understand how climate change is impacting marine resources in California, and more.
Volunteer Opportunities Nationwide
Share a story for the Voices Oral History Archives database to provide primary information for researchers interested in our local, human experience with the surrounding marine environment.
Volunteer to protect national marine sanctuaries, helping to ensure that they remain America’s underwater treasures for future generations.
Volunteer Opportunities by Region
New England/Mid-Atlantic Region
West Coast Region
PRA Statement: NOAA is working with the White House Office of Management and Budget to develop an agency-wide information collection request for its citizen science projects to comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Diversity and Inclusion
NOAA Fisheries is committed to achieving diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. We recognize that this is not a short-term goal but one that requires a deliberate, sustained effort.
NOAA Fisheries is a multi-mission, geographically dispersed agency responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s ocean resources and its habitat. Our workforce is made up of individuals with a wide range of characteristics and experiences who serve diverse communities across the nation. We maintain that the best scientific work is achieved through a community that values diversity and inclusion throughout the agency. We use the collective experience of all our staff to create a productive workforce that is a leader in creating and sustaining diversity and inclusion.
Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Understanding that diversity and inclusion are essential to fulfilling our mission, we will strive to cultivate a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, fairness and belonging. We recognize that employees, supervisors, and leaders at all levels play a critical role in realizing this vision.
Defining Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity is the mixture of the unique attributes that shape an individual's identity which they bring into the workplace to help NOAA accomplish its goals. Diversity refers to demographic diversity (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation), experiential diversity (e.g., affinities, hobbies, and abilities), and cognitive diversity (e.g., sensory processing and problem solving).
Inclusion is a culture that values the unique attributes of all team members. It is an environment which is respectful, collaborative, supportive, and one that allows for equal access. Inclusion requires active and intentional engagement on the part of everyone and provides a feeling of belonging.
- Be a vibrant and productive workforce
- Move the organizational culture to an inclusive environment where all employees are connected, respected, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential
- Ensure managers and supervisors foster employee engagement and promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace
- Recruit qualified individuals at all levels who are reflective of our nation’s diversity and whose diverse backgrounds, experience, education, and skills will advance NOAA’s mission
- Provide a full and fair opportunity for all employees and applicants, regardless of race, religion, gender, color, age, disability, national origin, genetic information, and sexual orientation
- Strengthen employee engagement to cultivate an inclusive culture
- Ensure all employees have equal access to career development opportunities
- Expand leadership and accountability for managing diversity and inclusion across NOAA
We will make every effort to enhance and promote practices that encourage employee engagement and empowerment. We will factor diversity into recruitment and succession planning, and increase work-life balance and developmental opportunities to foster retention. We will ensure performance management and other policies and systems are aligned with our vision of diversity and inclusion.
In addition to sustaining a more ecologically diverse marine environment, we recognize the importance of accountability for sustainable growth and development as an organization. By focusing on employee engagement and embedding diversity into the culture, we are able to help sustain a healthy and balanced work life for all. To do this, we will work to strengthen leadership’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive agency through accountability, data, and education. This in turn will help us institutionalize a culture of inclusion that can be sustained far into the future.