Zoo and Aquarium Careers
Working with animals can be fun, but how do you know if it is the right job for you? The Zoo also employs a wide variety of, non-animal related, professionals. Click here, to see what jobs are currently available.
Zookeepers find vast rewards in what they do. By providing the best quality care possible for their animals and educational opportunities for their guests, they know that they are doing whatever they can to further conservation efforts around the world.
To get started in a Zoo career, the best thing you can do is to work hard in school. Even animal care jobs that the public may view as “menial labor” usually require a minimum of an Associate’s degree, plus hands-on experience with animals. Classes such as computer skills, technical writing, public speaking, biology, and math all contribute skills that make the job much easier.
Students wishing to pursue animal-related careers should carefully review the curriculum of the schools they wish to attend, as some programs focus more on zoo and aquarium training than others. Some colleges and universities actually offer specialized degrees in zoo keeping and zoo management.
Hand-in-hand with education, zoos often require experience with animals, outside the range of normal household pets. Volunteering or working with local vet offices, zoos, wildlife parks, equestrian centers, farms, and other animals will not only give you experience but also help you determine if this job is right for you. Most animal care work does require physical strength and endurance, the ability to make detailed observations, make quick decisions and keep detailed records. It takes an incredible commitment to care for captive animals and maintain a recreational facility, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, rain or shine. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, click here.
Animal care jobs in zoos include:
- Zoo keeper
- Vet Tech
- Behavioral Enrichment coordinator
- Animal nutritionist
- Animal care supervisor
- Animal records and permits manager
Animal care is not the only side to the Zoo, however! It takes all types of people and jobs to keep a busy zoo running smoothly. Utah’s Hogle Zoo employs cashiers, ticket takers, train drivers, maintenance, administrators, educators, marketing specialists, office staff, accountants, information technology managers, fundraisers, human resources specialists, chefs, EMTs, security officers, concessions workers, records clerks, and housekeeping staff. Students interested in the business side of zoo and aquarium operations should concentrate on skills related such as accounting, marketing, personnel, or business. Whatever your career goal, guidance counselors can offer assistance in determining the most appropriate course of study.
Due to the nature of the work and conditions at the Zoo, we are unable to accommodate job shadows at this time. If you have a teen who is interested in learning more about what it's like to work at the Zoo, please look into our Keeper Camp and volunteer programs.
For more information on Zoo Careers go to:
- The American Association of Zoo Keepers is dedicated to the important role keepers play in providing professional care to captive wild animals.
- The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians is the professional organization for veterinarians who work with exotic animals under captive management.
- The Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians is dedicated to all aspects of quality veterinary technical care in the field of zoo animal medicine.
- The International Marine Animal Trainers Association to foster communication, professionalism, and cooperation among those who serve marine mammal science through training, public display, research, husbandry, conservation, and education.