Is a Zookeeper Salary Enough to Qualify It As a Successful Career?
Animal lovers often assume that getting a zookeeper education means going to college and earning an expensive four-year degree. They also worry that a zookeeper salary might not be very high. Many who would love to work at a zoo with animals never even try because they feel like it’s an unattainable goal. If you have a passion for animals, however, you should not give up!
True, working at a zoo is a dream job for many people, and a great deal of competition exists among job seekers because zoo careers can be magical and meaningful. They allow interaction with the amazing wildlife that the average person can only dream about. These careers include zookeeper assistant jobs, zookeeper jobs, wildlife veterinarian, veterinary technician, wildlife biologist, zoo curator, wildlife conservation specialist, and aquarist among a host of other medical and biological specialties.
Is a College Degree Necessary for Securing Zoo Jobs Near me?
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. Not only can getting a degree require a lofty time and financial investment, but you would also need to research ‘zookeeper colleges near me’ in order to find an educational institution convenient to your location as often you can not obtain a zookeeper degree online.
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 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, have dedicated time to forging a solid foundation for your career, 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 and regardless of the task (glamourous or not!), at the end of the day you can feel good about knowing that every minute on the zookeeper assistant job you were doing something to help care for these amazing animals..
I Want to Start Taking Classes Yesterday!
You are in luck! ABC offers open enrollment so 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.