August 2, 2011

Working with Sharks

It’s one of my favorites times of year – Shark Week! Every year, the Discovery Channel spends a week focusing on these predators of the sea, including shows about shark attacks, shark research, and more. If you love Shark Week as much as I do, you might be wondering how you can do some of the same jobs you see others do on these television shows. Let’s take a look at some of your options for working with sharks:

  •  Cage Diver

If you work as a diver already, you might want to take the next step and learn about cage diving to help tourists and scientists get an up-close-and-personal look at these awesome sea creatures. In order to work in this career, you need CPR and first aid training, as well as a working knowledge of shark behavior to ensure that everyone stays as safe as possible at all times. You can find shark diving jobs around the world, so this is also a great choice if you want to travel.

  • Shark Spotter

In countries like South Africa, the government hires shark spotters to help keep beaches safe. Unlike a lifeguard, with this type of position, you won’t help rescue swimmers, but you’ll instead watch the water from a perch high above the beach. It will be your job to sound the alarm if you see a shark so that everyone can get out of the water before it becomes a problem. Shark spotters typically work short shifts because the job requires so much attention, and you of course nee excellent eyesight to qualify for a position. Shark spotting jobs are more common in other countries, so check out our guide to working abroad to learn more about careers overseas.

  • Shark Biologists

Working as a biologist allows you to take on any number of research and conservation roles that involve sharks. You could work at an aquarium, keeping sharks happy and talking to visitors about the species, or you could work in the field, studying sharks in their natural environment and promoting efforts to protect these animals. With a degree in biology, you could also help tag sharks, which allows researchers to collect data about that specific species to learn more about their feeding habits, migration patterns, and more.

  • Underwater Photographer

Working as a photographer typically has you snapping pictures at weddings and doing portraits for families, but there’s a special subset of photographers that works under the water. In this type of position, your photographs could end up in pamphlets, magazines, books, websites, and more. The light is tricky in the water, and there is an element of danger to photographing sharks for sure, but your work could even end up in museums.

Looking for even more examples of jobs you can take if you want to work with sharks? Check out the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week Career page, where they give you the low-down on everything from being a shark suit tester to performing shark autopsies.

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