Zoo Jobs Require a Special Skillset
Zookeeper requirements can vary, but as a general rule, head zookeepers need to have a four-year degree in biology or zoology. Learning how to become a zookeeper assistant is a great alternative. It’s faster and more affordable than getting a college degree, and it still allows you to work closely with the whole spectrum of exotic animals, performing many of the same zoo jobs as head or senior zookeepers.
Learning how to become a zookeeper assistant allows you to work closely with the whole spectrum of exotic animals, performing many of the same zoo jobs as head or senior zookeepers. Zookeeper assistants work closely with the whole spectrum of exotic animals, performing many of the same tasks as zookeepers, but without the time and financial investment of needing a zookeeper degree.
Entry level zookeep jobs may be easier to approach by first having experience as a zookeeper assistant. Good zookeeper assistants possess a number of personal qualities. The job involves more than just hanging out with animals. Because they often lead tour groups, answer questions, and give animal presentations, zookeeper assistants must be able to communicate well with people. In addition, they have to be able to follow directions closely and work well under supervision.
Physically, the job requires the flexibility and dexterity to work with animals that are quicker and stronger than people. Zookeeper assistants are on their feet all day in conditions that are often less than clean. They endure extreme temperatures, noise, and exposure to all sorts of allergens, fumes, and odors, as well as strong chemicals. That being said, though, the privilege of working so closely with a world of different animals, having the ability to positively impact their lives and helping conservation efforts for many potentially endangered species makes it all worthwhile.
Can I Get hired for any Zoo Jobs Without Experience?
Occasionally, someone with no experience or pertinent zookeeper education lucks into a job at a zoo, but because it is such a desirable profession, zoo employers generally hire people with degrees, credentials, or previous experience in an animal facility. Some people get their foot in the door by volunteering or by getting a part time job in a vet clinic or animal hospital, but there is a lot of competition out there! Eagerness and a sincere love of animals is important, but it isn’t always enough on its own. The more you know, the stronger and more in depth your knowledge of zookeeping safety, routines and husbandry is, the more desirable you may be as a candidate.
How Do I Make Myself Stand Out?
Completing a zookeeper assistant course will show prospective employers that you are serious about the profession and that you have a good base of knowledge. ABC offers a zookeeper assistant program that will prepare you for a career working in a zoo and will make employers take notice of you. Earning your certification could help you stand out as a job candidate who is serious about working in the profession.
ABC’s program covers the nuts and bolts of how to become a zookeeper assistant. Among other topics, coursework includes:
- Exotic animal housing and exhibits
- Animal health
- Zoo conservation and breeding programs
- Exotic animal behavior, enrichment, and training
- Daily zookeeping routines and husbandry
- Zookeeping safety
- Zoo visitor education and relations
Upon completion of the program, graduates receive professional certification as an Animal Behavior College Certified Zookeeper Assistant (ABCZA).
Does ABC Offer Any Alumni Support?
ABC is invested in the success of our graduates. We provide a private job postings site, and we can help you build your resume and hone strong interview skills. Also, as an ABC graduate, you will have lifetime access to our curriculum should you need to refresh your memory or update your knowledge. Lifetime access to your zookeeper assistant curriculum may prove to be invaluable, especially if after becoming a certified zookeeper assistant you decide to continue your learning to someday pursue a degree for a formal zookeeper career. You will also have the opportunity to join our ABC Alumni group. This group consists of over 28,000 graduates from all of our animal related programs. At times it can be a very small and interconnected world and having connections to thousands of animal career professionals might be very helpful for networking and making lifelong professional connections.
Sounds Great! When Can I Get Started?
As a distance learning program, ABC offers open enrollment, so you never have to wait to begin classes! You can complete your certification in as little as eight months. To take the first step toward a great career working with exotic animals, large and small, call us at 800-795-3294 and set up an interview with an admissions counselor.