Observer Training Courses

Having a certification as a Marine Mammal Observer, Protected Species Observer, and in Passive Acoustic Monitoring are necessary for many contracting agencies and often for approval to do work by NMFS. We provide certification as well as training in observing endangered species.

Please navigate to "Open Enrollment" on the Home Page to register as sessions become available.

Protected Species Observer Certification

40 hours in 8 days


Protected Species Observers (PSO) are required for industry and research where the potential to disrupt the activities of marine species must be mitigated. This course will prepare people with a background in a related science to perform the skills needed to be a qualified PSO.


The content of this program has been reviewed by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management & deemed compliant under BOEM NTL 2016-G02. and "Appendix A: Seismic Survey Mitigation and Protected Species Observer Protocols"


Next Session:

Dates October 26, November 02, 2020. All assignments due November 07, 2020

Live Class Meetings (Mandatory): October 26, 28, 30, and November 02

All live class meetings are held 13:00 hrs. - 17:00 hrs. Eastern Time (Boston, USA)


Prerequisites:  A minimum of a bachelor's degree in marine biology, ecology, zoology, wildlife and fisheries, or other related science. If you are enrolled in a college or university in one of the related sciences, and would like to participate in this course, you will be awarded a course participation certificate indicating the course is complete upon graduation. 


You MUST have a reliable computer with a camera and a microphone (most smart phones work well!) to be able to participate during classroom time and upload the assignments. Reliable internet is required.


Be sure to download the pdf  for this module for more details. The student contract (available for preview on the Home Page) is required for all participants in MCERC programs.

The program fee:


Cost of the program …………………………….                                      $475 USD

Support from MCERC academic funding resources……                       $125 USD

Your cost ……………………………………….................                       $350 USD*

The program fee is nonrefundable to allow the program fee to remain low and available to many who wish to have this career training.


Enrollment will remain open until two days before this class session begins or until the class if filled. 



PSO course description.pdfPSO course description.pdf