Fisheries and Aquaculture, B.S.

Fisheries and Aquaculture, B.S.

What is a Fisheries and Aquaculture Degree?

Fisheries and Aquaculture BSAccording to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, aquaculture continues to be one of the fastest growing industries around the globe as demand for aquatic food products increases. As a result, the need for aquaculture experts also continues to increase.

Fisheries and aquaculture are most commonly thought of as "fish farming" – the theory and practice of cultivating marine and freshwater algae and animals for food. The industry also provides opportunity in the development of chemical and pharmaceutical products, scientific research, species population restoration, food safety and sustainability and production of ornamental plants and animals.

With a fisheries and aquaculture degree, you might monitor the health and well-being of farm-raised fish, manage the technical operations of a hatchery, work for a government agency (such as the EPA or USDA) or be an integral part of the team at an aquarium or zoo. No matter what direction you choose, an aquaculture degree from Florida Tech helps you develop a strong background in biology and get hands-on experience in chemistry and zoology.

Choose an Aquaculture Specialty as Early as Your Sophomore Year

Florida Tech's fisheries and aquaculture degree program is dynamic and focused. In fact, Florida Tech established the very first undergraduate aquaculture program in the United States in 1977 at our Vero Beach Marine Laboratory, nestled on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. You'll experience a diverse range of study and complete core courses like Biological Discovery and Introduction to Aquaculture, before moving on to specialized courses in culture techniques of salt and freshwater algae, crustaceans, finfish and mollusks. Guided by highly qualified faculty such as Dr. Junda Lin, program chair, who has 20 years of aquaculture research and education experience, you'll work in teaching laboratories and high-tech research labs, choosing a specialty as early as your sophomore year.

Build Professional Relationships

Beyond the classroom, fisheries and aquaculture majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and opportunity for participation in academic organizations like Tri Beta (biological sciences honor society), the Aquaculture Society, student government and over 100 other student organizations. Each of these experiences gives students a way to interact with other fisheries and aquaculture students, professors and industry professionals.

Gain Practical Experience

This course of study is very hands-on, with small classes and intensive faculty-student interaction. Hit the beach at the university's ocean side marine laboratory and work on large-scale saltwater culture. Refine your practical skills in technical electives and specialized labs with the opportunity to undertake exciting independent or collaborative (with a peer or professor) research in a topic of your choosing.

Florida Tech's professional grade aquaculture center provides high-tech instrumentation facilities and equipment for the production and study of aquatic wildlife, and Florida Tech's Sportfish Research Institute involves students in the study of vital sport fish species through hands-on fieldwork. All of this practical experience, as well as the availability of internships, showcases an active and robust learning environment that enhances your job search portfolio and prepares you for employment or graduate study.

Florida Tech Graduates Are in Demand

Employers that have recruited Florida Tech students with a fisheries and aquaculture degree for internships and careers include the American Museum of Natural Science, Baltimore Aquarium, Epcot, the Perry Institute for Marine Science and Sea World.

Earn an Advanced Aquaculture and Fisheries Degree

After receiving a fisheries and aquaculture degree, many graduates go on to master's and doctoral programs at Florida Tech and other prestigious universities, including Harvard, Columbia, U.C. Berkeley and Duke.

Envision yourself at Florida Tech–a university already operating in the future–and imagine the opportunities that are available with a sought-after fisheries and aquaculture degree.

Why pursue a Fisheries and Aquaculture Degree at Florida Tech?

In 1977 Florida Tech established the first undergraduate fisheries and aquaculture program in the country and it remains one of just a few colleges offering B.S. degree programs. Students have an opportunity for undergraduate research and may apply for internships with university partners.

Florida Tech is an ideal location for students seeking an aquaculture university to prepare for a career. Diverse and vast natural resources such as the estuarine habitats of the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean marine ecosystem, marshes and wetlands surround the campus providing a wealth of opportunity for hands-on learning environments unlike any other in the world.

Florida is also the center of trade and production of marine ornamental species in the United States, giving the university a natural research focus for developing aquaculture technologies for marine ornamental species.

Florida Tech Professors Conduct Groundbreaking Research

As an aquaculture university, our faculty members stay updated with the latest developments in the field and take this knowledge into the classroom. Professors not only advance their fields through groundbreaking research on fish aquaculture and other topics, they also encourage students to conduct research in addition to their coursework. The program chair has been active in aquaculture research and education for over 20 years and was once a World Aquaculture Society board member.

Cutting-Edge Facilities Give This Aquaculture University Many Benefits

Florida Tech offers its fisheries and aquaculture students state-of-the-art, modern lab facilities and centers of excellence in which to learn and conduct research. As an aquaculture university Florida Tech concentrates on creating the most effective environments for study:

  • The 29,000-square-foot cutting-edge Harris Center for Science and Engineering serves the research needs of our fisheries and aquaculture, and fish biology program. Here, small-scale culture of algae, shellfish and fish species is conducted.
  • The Vero Beach Marine Laboratory, a 4-acre off-campus facility on the Atlantic Ocean, is where large-scale culture is conducted.
  • The Sportfish Research Institute involves students in the study of vital sport fish species like the Atlantic Tarpon through hands-on fieldwork.
  • The Neotropical Paleoecology Research Group studies climatic change on plant communities in tropical Central and South America by reconstructing the history of habitats and drawing patterns of biodiversity.
  • The biology lab contains eight teaching labs, 12 modern research labs, computer facility and an electron microscopy suite.
  • The indoor aquaculture facilities at Florida Tech's main campus total approximately 2,500 square feet, most of which is wet laboratory space. Recirculating systems ranging from small glass aquaria through 720-gallon tanks harbor a wide variety of aquatic species.
  • Controlled environmental factors can be imposed on any of these systems, providing outstanding capabilities for studies on virtually any aquatic species.

Small Class Sizes, Valuable Research-Based Learning and a Wonderful Place to Live

Because of our small class sizes and experienced professors who are committed to student success, you receive valuable one-on-one attention. Attending an aquaculture university like Florida Tech gives you a unique opportunity to tap into a diverse program led by a faculty with years of experience in the field, and to participate in sponsored research and fieldwork activities. Florida Tech is THE aquaculture university of choice.

Not only are we a top-rated aquaculture university, but we also have a beautiful Central Florida location that is home to 72 miles of wonderful beaches, close proximity to Kennedy Space Center and the attractions of Orlando. Campus life is buzzing with a wide range of activities for students from intramural and intercollegiate sports, to student organizations, area events and activities. With warm weather nearly year-round, it's the perfect fun-in-the-sun location for any active college student. When selecting your aquaculture university, Florida Tech is the perfect choice.

How will a Fisheries and Aquaculture Degree prepare me for the future?

Working in research labs alongside university faculty, you build valuable skills and a highly competitive resume to equip you for future aquaculture jobs. You also have an opportunity to get involved in the industry as students are often invited to present their research at regional and national professional meetings, or get published in research journals.

Internship activities range from hands-on experiences with marine life, comprehensive research on topics in aquaculture and marine habitats in close proximity to the university campus, creating a wide variety of experiences available for Florida Tech students looking to better prepare for aquaculture jobs. Our students have been recruited for and completed internships at many prestigious and widely recognized organizations including:

  • American Museum of Natural Science
  • Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program
  • Brevard Zoo
  • EPCOT Center
  • Florida Medical Entomology Lab
  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
  • SeaWorld

Through training and skills garnered from these opportunities, our students graduate with the confidence of knowing they have the experience necessary to take on aquaculture jobs in the field.

Work with Faculty and Organizations on Aquaculture Research

A plethora of research facilities both on and off campus allow our students to conduct in-depth research alongside faculty on many topics infisheries and aquaculture. This experience is a valuable part of a student's portfolio when searching forfisheries and aquaculture jobs. Some of the subjects you can expect to study and research include:

  • Marine ornamental species culture technology
  • Marine fish larvae culture
  • Dynamics of juvenile tarpon
  • The role of artificial reefs as habitats for sport fish species
  • Conservation of marine organisms
  • More efficient "fish farming"
  • Higher quality aquaculture technology
  • The use of the Indian River Lagoon as a fish nursery

By delving into research on these and many other topics, Florida Tech students gain valuable experience they can use in future fisheries and aquaculture jobs.

Be Part of Clubs and Organizations in Your Field

Tri-Beta is a national biology honor society that aims to educate people on the importance of studying the biological sciences. This student organization takes part in a wide variety of activities and connects you to other fisheries and aquaculture students. Being part of a national society can also provide leads on available fisheries and aquaculture jobs. Recent "field trips" have included camping and hiking trips and a tour of NASA. Tri-Beta also sponsors picnics and banquets to bring together faculty, staff and students.

What Can You Do with a Fisheries and Aquaculture Degree?

A fisheries and aquaculture degree from Florida Tech provides you with the background necessary to be hired for any variety offisheries and aquaculture jobs.

Because aquaculture is a growing industry, graduates in fisheries and aquaculture can expect to obtain entry-level employment after graduation with private firms, government agencies, research laboratories, commercial food and ornamental fish companies, or public institutions such as museums, aquariums and zoos. With a solid foundation in biology and agriculture technology, you can also choose a career in research, or teaching, or pursue a graduate degree program.

Specialized? Sure, but Florida Tech grads have a strong background in biology based on such courses as culture techniques of salt and freshwater algae, crustaceans, finfish and mollusks. This background is necessary to effectively compete forfisheries and aquaculture jobs.

Florida Tech graduates are ready to pursue fisheries and aquaculture jobs immediately after graduation or pursue a master's or doctoral degree not only at Florida Tech, but also at such institutions as:

  • University of Florida
  • University of South Alabama
  • University of Miami
  • University of Texas
  • University of South Florida

Biological Sciences graduates from Florida Tech work with such organizations as:

  • Federal (e.g., EPA, USDA), state and local agencies
  • Commercial food and ornamental aquaculture production facilities
  • Perry Institute for Marine Science
  • Sea World Florida
  • American Museum of Natural Science
  • Zoos & Theme Parks
  • Research Laboratories

The Outlook for Fisheries and Aquaculture Jobs is Strong!

So, what types of fisheries and aquaculture jobs exist for Florida Tech grads? The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), contains information such as median pay, employment growth and working conditions about hundreds of jobs. The handbook lists fisheries and aquaculture jobs and similar occupations that include:

  • Agricultural Manager
  • Agricultural and Food Science Technician
  • Agricultural and Food Scientist
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Biological Scientist
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologist

Entry-level salaries for students with degrees in biological sciences are reported by PayScale.com to be $39,100, with further earning potential to grow to $84,900. PayScale.com is an online salary information company that provides accurate real-time information on job market compensation.
Other careers in aquaculture also provide good salary potential such as:

Agricultural and food scientist: $44,000 - $81,100
Environmental scientist: $47,900 – $89,700
Zoology: $36,500 – $69,700
Microbiology: $39,700 - $76,200

Fisheries and aquaculture jobs may be unique in the marketplace, but are just as important as well-known careers available to those with a degree in Biological Sciences. Perhaps a degree in aquaculture from Florida Tech is right for you.

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