Aquarium Curator

Job Description:

An aquarium curator manages the care, exhibition, and overall well-being of aquatic species and their habitats in an aquarium or aquatic facility.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

As an aquarium curator, you will be:

  • overseeing the care, well-being, and exhibition of aquatic species
  • managing staff and facilities, developing educational programs
  • conducting research
  • contributing to conservation efforts to ensure the success of the aquarium’s mission and goals


You will need:

  • knowledge in aquatic biology, zoology, ecology, animal care and conservation
  • knowledge in education, facility management, research techniques and regulations
  • understanding of global environmental issues and the importance of sustainable practices for aquatic ecosystems
  • expertise in creating engaging exhibits, educational programs, and interactive experiences for visitors

As well as:

  • skills to address challenges related to animal health, behavior, and exhibit design (creativity)
  • effective communication for interacting with staff, visitors, donors, and stakeholders
  • leadership skills
  • adaptability skills
  • the ability to pay attention to detail
  • problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work with others (teamwork skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

While specific GCSE subjects may not be strictly required to become an aquarium curator, certain subjects can provide a solid foundation for pursuing higher education and a career in this field. Recommended GCSE subjects might include:

  1. Biology: Biology provides a fundamental understanding of living organisms and ecosystems, which is essential for working with aquatic life.
  2. Environmental Science: This subject covers ecological concepts and environmental issues, relevant for understanding conservation and habitat management.
  3. Geography: Geography can offer insights into natural environments, ecosystems, and the impact of human activity on aquatic habitats.
  4. Chemistry: Chemistry knowledge can be beneficial for understanding water quality, chemical interactions, and maintenance of aquatic environments.
  5. Mathematics: Mathematics is important for data analysis, record-keeping, and making calculations related to animal care and habitat parameters.
  6. English: Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are crucial for conveying information about aquatic life and conservation to diverse audiences.
  7. Art or Design and Technology: These subjects can help develop creativity and visualization skills, useful for exhibit design and presentation.

While these subjects can be helpful, becoming an aquarium curator often requires further education, such as a bachelor’s degree in marine biology, zoology, aquatic science, or a related field. The most critical aspect is a genuine interest in aquatic life, animal care, conservation, and a willingness to pursue relevant education and experience in the field.

The qualifications and requirements to become an aquarium curator can vary depending on the specific aquarium, its size, location, and the scope of the role. However, here are general steps and qualifications that are often relevant:


A bachelor’s degree in marine biology, zoology, aquatic science, biology, ecology, or a related field is typically required. Some positions might require a master’s degree, especially for larger institutions or specialized roles.


Practical experience is crucial. Starting with entry-level positions in animal care, exhibit management, or educational programs within aquariums or related settings can be valuable

Working directly with aquatic animals, understanding their behavior, and demonstrating animal husbandry skills are often required. Experience with both marine and freshwater species is beneficial.


Depending on the specific roles and institution, certifications in scuba diving, animal training, first aid, or other relevant areas might be advantageous.


Some aquariums focus on specific areas, such as marine mammals, coral reef ecosystems, or endangered species. Specializing in a particular field can make you a stronger candidate for specific curator roles.

Continuing Education

Staying up-to-date with advancements in animal care, exhibit design, and conservation practices through workshops, seminars, and further education is important.

Remember that each aquarium might have its own specific requirements and expectations for their curators. Always research the requirements of the particular institution you’re interested in to ensure you meet their criteria.

Working Hours and Environment:

Aquarium curators often have varied schedules that can include weekends, early mornings, and late evenings, working both indoors and outdoors to oversee animal care, exhibit maintenance, visitor engagement, and special events in aquatic environments.

Career Path & Progression:

A typical career for an aquarium curator involves starting with an entry-level position in animal care or exhibit management, progressing to a curator role through experience and advanced education, overseeing diverse aspects of animal welfare, habitat design, conservation efforts, and visitor engagement, with opportunities to specialise, contribute to research, and potentially advance to higher management roles within the aquarium or related fields of conservation and marine science.