Zookeepers take care of animals and educate the public to promote conservation.
It's a challenging yet emotionally fulfilling career.
If you like working with animals and you're ready to get your hands dirty, follow this path to become a zookeeper.
Earn Your Degree
Your first step is to earn a bachelor's degree. Due to the high level of competition in the field, you need a degree to be considered . According to the San Diego Zoo, recommended fields of study are:
Listen to Zookeeper Rick for ideas on where to gain experience working with animals:
You'll need 6 to 12 months of experience working with animals before you can be hired as a zookeeper, so start volunteering now!
Paula wants experience working with animals but the zoos in her city aren't hiring interns. What should she do? Select all that apply.
Grow Your Skills
Driver's license : Required for many keeper jobs
Scuba license : Nice to have if you want to work with aquatic animals
First aid training : Ensure the safety of coworkers, guests, and yourself
Zookeepers must be prepared for a variety of situations both with animals and people. Animals need care 24/7, even in inclement weather and during holidays.
Be prepared to do the dirty work, such as cleaning animal feces, helping animals reproduce, and feeding animals an appropriate diet (that may consist of other animals). You may be "bitten, scratched, or kicked" by the animals in your care (thebalancecareers).
Advice From A Pro
Zookeeper Rick recommends patience and persistence while job searching:
I applied 6 times at the San Diego Zoo before I even got an interview and even then I didn't get that job. I applied again and finally landed a part-time keeper spot. So have patience, and be persistent.
Be willing to relocate to any zoo, and apply to positions at smaller zoos where there may be less competition.
Zookeepers find fulfillment in supporting education and conservation and may even bond with the animals in their care!
Are you ready to do more than just cuddle animals and truly take care of them? Take your next steps: