Aquatic Veterinarian Career Profile

Do you want to work as a aquatic veterinarian?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 23 May 2023

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What is a Aquatic Veterinarian?

An Aquatic Veterinarian is a doctor who protects the health of humans and animals by treating a wide variety of water based species, such as fish, marine mammals, sea turtles

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Alternative Names

This career might also be known as:

  • Marine Veterinarian

Alternative Careers

Veterinarians who specialize in working with domesticated (or companion animals), and with zoo animals, are discussed separately. Click on the links to visit their Pages:

Career Categories

The Aquatic Veterinarian falls within the following Career Categories:

  • Health
  • Business
  • Marine Conservation


Veterinarians do not just specialize in certain species, but may also in kinds of medicine, such as epidemiology, pathology, infectious diseases, toxicology

State employed?

Most of the certified aquatic veterinarians work for governments, overseeing the natural resources of their rivers and oceans

What does an Aquatic Veterinarian do?

Groups of animals an Aquatic Veterinarian works with

Mammals List Icon OZT
Fish List Icon OZT
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Crustaceans List Icon OZT
Mollusks Link Icon OZT

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

What does an Aquatic Veterinarian focus on?

They treat sick aquatic animals of rivers and oceans, or wherever these animals might be held captive to administer medical treatment and rehabilitation. They also do research to control animal diseases.

What are the daily tasks of an Aquatic Veterinarian?

  • Diagnoses animal health problems
  • Vaccinate against diseases
  • Medicate animals suffering from infections or illnesses
  • Treat and dress wounds
  • Perform minor to complex surgery, depending on training
  • Euthanize animals when necessary
  • Provide preventive care
  • Perform diagnostic tests

In which Environment does an Aquatic Veterinarian work in?

What are the environment and places of employment like?

Environment –

Aquatic veterinarians work primarily outdoors, but can spend time indoors doing surgery and running tests.

Places of Employment –

Most veterinarians work in their own private practices. Vets may be employed or contracted by hospitals, government agencies, educational institutions, marine management groups, and rescue centers.

What is the Average Salary for an Aquatic Veterinarian?

The average annual or yearly salary is around $75,000. It may differ from country to country, as well as the type of employer.

Country Comparison:

South Africa: Annual salary of R470,000
Australia: Annual salary of AU$65,000
UK: Annual salary of £30,00

Can an Aquatic Veterinarians be promoted?

Promotion to senior levels are available in most careers. The levels of each promotion might differ from organization to organization, but generally are the following for veterinarians who work for an organization:

Junior Veterinarian > Senior Veterinarian > Head Veterinarian > Department Manager or Director

What difficulties does an Aquatic Veterinarian face?

Being a Veterinarian does have some difficult moments, and it’s good to know these things before you truly make a decision to pursue this career:

  • Most veterinarians are on call around the clock since emergencies can occur at any time.
  • Schedules may include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Dealing with sick animals and their distraught owners can be very stressful.
  • Vets may in certain circumstances need to put an animal to sleep, called euthanasia.
  • Sick or frightened animals may bite, or otherwise injure those who are treating them.
  • Working in the wild is exactly what it means.
  • The outdoors, especially deep water can be dangerous and even life threatening.

Future Growth and Possibilities of the Career

Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow by 9% annually, one of the highest for an occupation, mainly due to the growth in wildlife veterinary sciences. Globally 5 out of every 6 Veterinarians work in their own practices. The rest are employed in government, universities and laboratories. Close to 65% of Vets are male.

Availability of Jobs


Which Skills do Aquatic Veterinarians need?

The skills required for a career as an aquatic veterinarian can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills:

  • compassion for animals
  • a steady and patient nature
  • ​interest in the biological sciences
  • good powers of observation
  • have respect and love for animals and the ability to work with them
  • good coordination to handle instruments
  • good vision, hearing, stamina and health
    able to think and act quickly and calmly in response to wild animals​
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to help me prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become an Aquatic Veterinarian?

Minimum educational qualification

To become a Vet you will need to study towards a Doctoral Degree in Veterinary Sciences, starting out with a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Science (BVSc). To specialize in working with aquatic animals requires at least another 2 years of intense studies in wildlife medicine.

Subject focus

Studying veterinary medicine will automatically indicate the subjects to follow. You will only have a far broader choice as you start to specialize.

Study duration

The duration of a Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 4 years, and another 4 years for a Doctorate. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined career paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Training and Apprenticeship

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a veterinarian will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior wildlife veterinarian.

Join the Aquatic Veterinarians Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of those entering the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certifications, Registrations and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Learn more about requirements by joining the Community.

Professional Associations

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards zoology.

Do you have information that you would like to contribute to this career profile? Please click on the red beetle to access the contribution form.

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Join the OZT community & Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an Aquatic Veterinarian.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being an Aquatic Veterinarian, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

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Career Profiles and Resources

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