Certificate and AAS
National Geographic has called Alaska fisheries the best-managed in human history. Between 70,000 and 80,000 people earn their living in fisheries jobs, and the next 10 years will see a large increase in the need for scientifically trained technicians, managers, and ecologists to work in the fisheries industry.
Knowledge is vital for today's Alaska fishing industry jobs. Ecology, biology, microbiology, business management, computer skills, communication skills, cultural understanding ... a lot of education is necessary to make a rewarding, life-long career in today's fishing industry.
- Fishing companies like to hire people who already know something about the industry. Times are changing, and communication skills, scientific knowledge, and computer skills are more valuable than ever in this increasingly high-tech field.
- Regulatory agencies need field technicians and managers to study fish populations, monitor catches, and work effectively with people. There is growing demand in this area.
- Seafood companies need disciplined, educated people they can groom for management and quality control. It helps if they already know about fish anatomy, microbiology, and business practices; if they can write reports and communicate effectively. Knowledge of the overall fisheries business gives these in-demand job candidates a leg up.
A College/Industry Partnership
The University of Alaska Fairbanks, Bristol Bay Campus, has partnered with UAS Sitka Campus, industry and the regulatory agencies to develop a curriculum which can meet this growing need of qualified workers. Industry is also donating scholarship money and providing internship opportunities for students, so that actual work experience is a big part of the education process.
The resulting program is called the Associate of Applied Science in Fisheries Technology. Most students will be able to complete this degree in 2 years, and the credits earned can be applied toward a bachelor's degree at either the University of Alaska Anchorage or University of Alaska Fairbanks.
You can start to take classes, wherever you are, and begin working toward a diploma that will open doors to high-paying jobs both on land and on water.
Key Features of the Program
1. Distance delivered classes
Study in the comfort of your own home, at times that fit your work schedule. Not only does this allow you to take classes without moving, it also allows you to work in the fisheries field nearest your current location. World fisheries are under stress, and people who have learned "the Alaska way" of effective fisheries management may soon be in demand in many other places. Wherever that may be, get the education you need to advance in your job.
You will need access to a computer with good internet connection. This could be at home or one of the regional partnership campuses near where you live.
2. Career Guidance
The Bristol Bay Campus Student Academic Advisor and Career Center Coordinator will work with you to plan your education, match your skills and interests to your career path, and overcome personal and financial obstacles to getting the education you need and the job you want.
3. Hands-on Experience
All of the classes in the Fisheries Technology program are designed to give students actual hands-on experience with the science and art of fisheries. The Bristol Bay Campus also offers students high level distance lab courses. For example, for fish biology and microbiology classes, students can expect to be loaned lab supplies, microscopes to do their own microbiology work, and fish to dissect. In addition, local workshops and short classes will give students actual experience in salmon field observation, and boat trips with actual fishing and catch monitoring operations.
The industry and Alaska state regulatory agencies have stepped forward to provide working internships for UAF and UAS Fisheries Technology students. This provides an opportunity to discover what different jobs are like, and allows employers to develop a relationship with students. These internshipas are a crucial part of the value of this education program.
5. Partner Campuses
A number of local communities have a partner campus staffed with dedicated support and instructional people for this statewide Fisheries Technology program. So far these partner communities include Bethel, Sitka, Homer, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Sitka, and Valdez.
6. Financial Assistance
A great deal of money is available to help students pay for their Fisheries Technology education. There are scholarships for students in particular towns along the coast, scholarships based on financial need, and scholarships for a variety of specific cultural and academic qualifications. Governors Scholarships and other achievement-based grants can also be used by students who choose to make Fisheries Technology their career. Contact a Financial Aid Advisor at the UAF Bristol Bay Campus to find out how to get the financial assistance you need, (907) 842-5109 or 800-478-5109.
Students graduating in the program have reported opportunities and the demand for trained Fisheries Technology graduates is increasing rapidly. The UAF Bristol Bay Campus will work closely with students before, during, and after their program of study to help maximize the potential outcome for each student.