Aquarium Curators

Megan O'Hearn

Career Information

  • An aquarium curator manages and maintains the aquatic exhibits at aquariums.
  • Aquarium curators typically work long hours and weekends because they handle all aspects related to the facility, fish, and displays. This can be a stressful environment because there are often deadlines and a push to keep the facility perfect for the public.
  • These members of an aquarium staff may spend part of their day in the water, working with the displays and the fish directly, and they may spend part of their day in their office, performing research or meeting with other members of the aquarium staff. Curators are in a managerial role, but they also get their hands dirty alongside their staff.
  • It requires a bachelor degree but most aquarium curators often have a master's degree or higher. It is preferred that the degree be in biology or a related science, but any coursework or background within this type of science, or with fish directly, can be quite helpful.
  • Salary ranges from $28,000-$86,000 depending on the type and size of the aquarium and current job prospects in this field are fair. They may work toward a position with greater responsibility, such as a director position, though many curators wish to stay in this role throughout their career.

Aquarium curators at work

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Career info cont.


  • expect to receive medical coverage and paid vacation, sick days, and holidays, as well as some sort of a retirement account
  • get to spend your day working with sea animals
  • long hours
  • stressful

Reasons why this career is necessary:
  • would not be able to have functioning aquariums without them
  • to have clean and healthy exhibits for the sea life
  • to have beautiful displays set up for the public

Equipment used

Aquarium curator setting up an exhibit

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