Aquarium Science Building

An Aquarium School and Experience Unlike any Other

If you are looking for a new challenge and a hands-on technical program where you can train to work in an aquarium or similar facility, the Aquarium Science Program is the best place to begin. The AQS Program is widely recognized and respected throughout the industry as one of the best programs in the country to learn the science of aquatic animal husbandry. Our students learn the many technical aspects of working with fishes, corals, and other invertebrates and learn marketable skills to earn positions working in public aquaria, fish hatcheries, research institutions, aquaculture facilities and other facets of the industry.

Since the beginning of our program many years ago, our graduates have enjoyed a very high rate of placement after finishing the program (94%) and no other college offering aquarium degrees provides more opportunities for additional learning outside the classroom. In addition to working and hands-on learning in our Teaching Aquarium, students can also perform practicums, internships and volunteer at nearby facilities, such as:

  • Oregon Coast Aquarium – This top-ranked public aquarium offers students the opportunity to work with fish, invertebrates, mammals and seabird species under the guidance of professional aquarists, mammalogists, aviculturalists and life support specialists.
  • Hatfield Marine Science Center – This world-class research facility has become the premier hub of marine science on the west coast. AQS students have the opportunity to work with the professional aquarists of the Aquatic Animal Health Program and/or researchers working with bivalve aquaculture, larval fish rearing and other aspects of fisheries science.
  • Fish Hatcheries – Students interested in applying their technical training to work in fish hatcheries are an easy drive away from several fish hatcheries, such as Alsea Trout Hatchery, Salmon River Hatchery, Whiskey Creek Hatchery and the Oregon Hatchery Research Center, a state-of-the-art facility in a beautiful location.

Program Options

Two-Year Associates Degree

Students admitted into the two-year degree program will receive an Associates of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Aquarium Science after successfully completing all necessary prerequisites and required coursework for the program. Applicants for the two year degree program must have received a high school diploma or GED and may have completed some college level coursework. {More details}

One-Year Certificate

Students admitted into the one-year certificate program will receive a Certificate of Completion in Aquarium Science after successfully completing the core curriculum and full composition of aquarium science courses.  Applicants for the one year certificate program must have completed a Bachelors degree or higher in Life Sciences or related field of study. {More details.}

Four-Year Bachelor’s Degree

This new program is offered in partnership with Western Oregon University. Students earn the first three years of their degree at Western in Monmouth, OR. The fourth year of study is conducted on-site at the Aquarium Science Program facility at Oregon Coast Community College in Newport. {For more information, visit the Aquarium Science Bachelor’s Degree page, email Larry Boles, AQS Program Manager, or visit this WOU webpage about the program.}

How to Apply

The application period for the 2022-23 school year is now closed.

Occasionally, late applications are accepted on a “space available” basis. Please contact the program director for more information


Our Staff

Click here to get to know our team.

Our Facility

Click here to take a look at the Aquarium Science Program’s state-of-the-art facilities.

Oregon Coast Community College