Make a big splash farming in water.
Aquaculturists raise a diverse array of aquatic plants and animals in controlled or semi-controlled settings. The goals of raising these organisms can be for production of food; for stocking public bodies of water, or public or home aquaria; or for biomedical applications. Regardless of your goal, in your first job you will probably stock production units (ponds or tanks), ensure adequate nutrition, monitor water quality, check for diseases, harvest plants or animals, and maintain equipment. If you become a manager, you will supervise workers, plan production schedules, purchase feed and equipment, and plan harvesting, processing, and marketing.
An aquaculturist can work for a corporation; an independent fish farmer; a city, county, state or federal government; or a biomedical research laboratory. Some large operations are vertically integrated and have their own feed mills and fish processing plants. Companies hire aquaculturists as technicians to test water quality or to examine fish for diseases. Feed companies and equipment manufacturers hire aquaculturists to market their products to fish farmers.
To be an aquaculturist you should be interested in agriculture, since aquaculture is a type of farming. An entry level position usually requires a high school education. Employees working on the pond bank need to know how to maintain and repair farm equipment. Managers of aquaculture operations often have college degrees, and need to understand water quality, nutrition, business, and economics.
In high school, take courses in the repair and maintenance of machinery and engines, welding, construction, and other shop classes. Accounting, marketing, and other business courses are also useful, as are basic courses in biology.
Download an 8.5-inch x 11-inch, printable poster for Aquaculturist.
(downloadable pdf format)
The second page of the download includes the career description above.