Looking for a Career in Marine Life? Look at NOAA
From marine biologists to engineers and policymakers to educators, NOAA Fisheries employs people in a wide range of fields.
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:
Learn more about some common science careers with NOAA Fisheries below and meet Fisheries employees who work in these roles!
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:
Some examples of resource management careers include:
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:
Some examples of mission support careers include:
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.
More than 100 undergraduate students receive tuition support and paid summer internships with NOAA across the country each year.
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 partners with colleges to provide undergraduate students college-funded summer internship opportunities. NOAA provides students experience in science, policy, and science communications.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
This program provides internship opportunities at NOAA to National Science Foundation graduate fellows and students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The PMF program is a two-year leadership development fellowship designed to attract graduate and recent graduate students to careers in federal service.
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.
This scholarship recognizes outstanding scholarship and encourages independent graduate-level research—particularly by female and minority students—in NOAA mission-related sciences.
It takes all kinds of stakeholders—from land management agencies, local governments, and individual citizens—to protect and restore our parks, waterways, and coastlines. By volunteering and conducting citizen science, you can preserve critical habitat, help scientists gather valuable data, and work towards a more sustainable future.
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 they remain America's underwater treasures for future generations.
NOAA supports a broad range of citizen science efforts. We launched a NOAA Community of Practice on citizen science in 2013 that now includes more than 220 members that have resulted in more than half a million volunteer hours per year. Information about many of these projects can be found in the CitizenScience.gov Catalog.
Here are several citizen science projects to consider:
Information collected by apps help provide a mechanism for the public to support conservation efforts. Citizens can:
You can also help by telling us when you see a marine animal in distress. If you see a sick, injured, or dead animal, contact your local stranding network. This is the best way to make sure professional responders and scientists know about it and can take appropriate action. These networks are different for each region—find the network closest to you and report distressed animals right away.
Citizen science also helps enhance fisheries science and management efforts. The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program builds robust partnerships among citizens, scientists, and government to collect information on nearshore rockfish off of central California’s coast critical to fisheries management. Data from this program enhances NOAA Fisheries stock assessments and helps scientists better understand the impacts of marine protected areas.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is creating the first formal citizen science program within one of the eight regional fishery management councils. In January 2016, they held a program design workshop with more than 60 key stakeholders from the recreational and commercial fishing communities, NOAA Fisheries, Sea Grant, state natural resource agencies, non-government organizations, and academic institutions to develop their citizen science initiative.
The Alaska Beluga Monitoring Partnership is a collaboration between NOAA and several organizations that offer opportunities for volunteer citizen scientists to contribute to endangered beluga monitoring efforts in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. Together we design standardized scientific monitoring protocols, train volunteers to support monitoring efforts, and coordinate shore-based beluga monitoring activities at various sites throughout Cook Inlet. Citizen science monitoring volunteers collect important data on beluga distribution and habitat use in nearshore waters while building working relationships with professional researchers and scientists. The data collected will be shared to inform ongoing marine mammal research and management activities and will be incorporated into NOAA’s Beluga Sightings Databases.
NOAA Fisheries and partners invite members of the public to participate in conserving the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales at the annual September Belugas Count! events in the greater Anchorage area. Members of the public are invited to help spot and count Cook Inlet beluga whales at staffed stations throughout Cook Inlet. This all-day citizen science celebration aims to bring together members of the public to focus on the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, fostering local pride, awareness, and stewardship. It’s a collaboration among a variety of federal and state agencies, local and national organizations, as well as individuals.
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.
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.
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.
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.