What Jobs Let Me Work with Exotic Animals?
Animal lovers often wonder how to work at a zoo with animals. As you might expect, working at a zoo is a dream job for many people who have a passion for animals, so a great deal of competition exists among job seekers.
Is a College Degree Necessary to Getting a Job at a Zoo?
If you want to work in a breed conservation program or become a zookeeper, animal curator, or researcher you will ultimately need a degree in animal science, biology, or zoology. These degrees take two to four years of college and can be quite costly.
If you just want to be around animals, you could always try volunteering at an animal shelter, vet clinic, or possibly a zoo. You could get your animal “fix” while gaining a little experience to put on your resume. A few people even manage to parley their volunteer work into a job at the facility, but that does not happen often in zookeeping.
A smarter way to enter the zookeeping profession and jumpstart your career is to earn your zookeeper assistant certification. Enrolling in a zookeeper assistant program will give you a solid background in all aspects of the job, and it can take as little as eight months to complete. As an Animal Behavior College Certified Zookeeper Assistant (ABCZA) you indicate to prospective employers that you have a broad knowledge of the profession and should be taken seriously.
As a Zookeeper Assistant Will I Get to Work with Animals Myself?
That depends on where you work. Generally, zookeeper assistants perform most of the same work that zookeepers do. The main difference is that zookeeper assistants work beneath a zookeeper, animal curator, or other supervisor.
Although the job does entail working with the public and doing a fair amount of mucking out habitats, there are lots of tasks that let you get up close and personal with all kinds of animals. Here are just a few of the tasks zookeeper assistants perform:
- Feeding and watering
- Behavioral observation
- Animal enrichment
- Assisting during veterinary examinations/treatment
No two days on the job are the same! One day you might be bottle feeding a baby gorilla, the next you might be devising a fun enrichment activity for the zoo’s tigers! Or, you might just be lugging a lot of hay to feed the elephants or spending a fair amount of time cleaning you know what. The variety is part of the job’s appeal.
I Want to Start Taking Classes Yesterday!
Fortunately, ABC offers open enrollment; you can start the program at any time! For more information or to schedule an interview with an admissions counselor, call us at 800-795-3294.