Assistant Dive Safety Officer / Animal Care Technician

Organization: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium of Metro Parks Tacoma (AZA Member)
Location: Tacoma, WA, Country
Job or Internship: Job



Metro Parks Tacoma is seeking an Assistant Dive Safety Officer / Aquarist to plan, develop, promote and coordinate assigned Eye to Eye Shark Dive Program activities, instructional classes and special events related to the program assigned. This position is also responsible for performing a variety of skilled duties involved in the care, observation, maintenance and management of aquatic animal species.

CLOSING DATE: Applications must be postmarked by February 15, 2013

STARTING PAY RANGE: $19.05 - $26.36 per hour (grade 1026)

CLASSIFICATION: This position is classified as a career full-time non-exempt position. This position is eligible for benefits. This position is a represented position and the candidate selected will be required to join the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 286 and pay union dues.


 Oversee all daily aspects of Eye to Eye Shark Dive (ETESD).

 Work with the Senior Dive Safety Officer (SDSO) to implement the program SOP’s & safety issues.

 Work with the (SDSO) on staff training of dive safety, animal behavior, dive program enjoyment and education.

 Maintain all dive equipment associated with ETESD. Maintain dive compressor, train staff on proper filling operations in compliance with OSHA standards. Fill in for the SDSO on safety issues in the institution during his/her absence.

 Provide messaging on shark biology and conservation issues to dive program participants. Communicate with the public, answer questions and perform narrated dive events. Instruct participants on the technical and safety aspects of the dive program. Guide participants safely through the dive program experience. Personalize the experience with humor and educational information.

 Fill scuba cylinders in compliance with OSHA standards. Clean wetsuits, bathing suits and facility after each program. Prepare the building for the next dive. Assist participants with sizing and if need be fitting into wetsuits.

 Dive in the exhibit to help maintain the quality of the exhibit for the program.

 Film, edit and duplicate DVD’s of the dive.

 Observe animal species on assigned schedule to determine physical and behavioral health and well-being; check animals for abnormalities and report condition to appropriate Curator or veterinarian.

 Clean animal exhibits and holding areas to assure the health of animals and the presentation of the species in an attractive environment; remove animal fecal and other material on a regular basis. Prepare, store and distribute food according to established amounts, types and diets; monitor feeding habits and report any changes or abnormalities; monitor food levels to assure sufficient quantities. Prepare and administer medications, food supplements and vitamins. Maintain water quality to keep aquatic animals in a healthy condition as assigned.

 Maintain records and reports regarding equipment, air quality, visitor and staff injury. Maintain records and reports regarding assigned duties including animal condition reports. Prepare various reports regarding activities and attendance; maintain various records.

 Communicate with the assigned Curator & Dive Safety Officer regarding needed supplies, problems regarding exhibits, animal health or public safety issues or concerns. Communicate with veterinarians regarding animal health matters; provide assistance in catching or restraining animals in accordance with established safety procedures to administer health care. Perform behavioral observations; patrol assigned areas and visually check on animals; perform or arrange for corrective action if problems arise. Assure the safety of animals, employees and the visiting public from injury or mishap.

 Perform routine maintenance and minor repair of animal exhibits and related system. Move and remove animal species to different areas or exhibits as determined by proper care, feeding and safety methods.

 Provide work direction and assist in training volunteers and part-time personnel as assigned.

 Communicate with representatives of other agencies to promote or coordinate programs and services.

 Prepare various reports regarding activities and attendance; maintain various records.

 Participate in the development of budgets for assigned programs; monitor expenditures; submit purchase requisitions and authorize time cards of assigned staff.

 Provide input regarding the collecting, purchase, transfer, propagation or trading of animal species as needed. Conduct and/or participate in conservation programs to assist in the propagation, education, enforcement and other activities related to long-term conservation of assigned species.

 Perform related duties as assigned.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Must have a Bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology or related field and three years related paid experience involving the care and husbandry of animals in a zoo, aquarium, theme park or related environment, preferably in an AZA accredited facility. Must be certified by a nationally recognized scuba organization to a minimum level of Divemaster. Must have logged a minimum of 50 dives in Washington or a similar cold water environment. Must be able to successfully pass scientific diving requirements of PDZA. Dive equipment technician or equivalent skills preferred. Full face mask use and technician certification preferred. Excellent communication, interpretation, and logistical problem solving skills required. Must be able to lead any dive accident or participant emergency. Proficiency in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint , Outlook and Excel required.

LICENSE & OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Must have valid driver's license. Must have the ability to obtain a valid First Aid and CPR Card within the probationary period. Must be willing to work evenings, nights, weekends and holidays, and to be on occasional 24-hour call to respond to emergencies. Employment is subject to a national and Washington State Patrol background inquiry pursuant to RCW 43.43.832. Job applicants must be able to prove authorization to work in the United States at the time of a job offer as required by the 1986 Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act. Documentation establishing authorization to work may include a Social Security Card, picture ID and/or other approved documentation.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: Lifting and carrying heavy objects up to 80 pounds. Pushing, climbing, walking, kneeling and crouching to work. Dexterity of hands and fingers to operate specialized equipment and tools. Must be able to move and lift dive gear. Must be able to assist visitors withdive gear. Must be able to fill and move scuba cylinders. Repetitive SCUBA dives on a daily basis.

ENVIRONMENT/HAZARDS: Indoor, cold, wet underwater environment; Chemicals, fumes, odors, poor ventilation and noise. Contact with dissatisfied visitors. Work environment with potentially dangerous animals.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Applicants must submit an official Metropolitan Park District application form, along with resume and cover letter outlining your interest in the position. Resumes received without the required application form will not be accepted. Applications can be obtained at the Metro Parks Tacoma Administration building located at 4702 S. 19th St., Tacoma, WA 98405 or by visiting the Metro Parks Tacoma web site at Please do not fax or email applications. Please clearly indicate the position that you are applying for on the application form. A response of "see resume" on the application form will not be considered an adequate response and may eliminate you from the process. It is the responsibility of the applicant to supply sufficient information and detail to permit a proper evaluation of your qualifications and ability as they relate to the position. It is your responsibility to make copies of your application and/or resume if needed. Metro Parks Tacoma will not return or make copies of any items supplied for the application process. Accommodation to participate in the job application and/or selection process for employment will be made upon request with reasonable notice. Please contact the Human Resources Department for further information.

SELECTION PROCESS: Those applicants showing evidence of meeting the minimum qualifications and appraisal of experience and training may be scheduled for further review. Metro Parks may elect to give an exam to those candidates scheduled for further review. It is the responsibility of the applicant to supply sufficient information and detail to permit Metro Parks to properly evaluate their qualifications and abilities as they relate to the position. The selection process can take six weeks or longer. Please do not contact the Human Resources Department with questions regarding your status.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability or any other merit factor.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS: Metro Parks employees receive 12 paid holidays, 12 days of sick leave, and 12 to 30 vacation days a year depending on length of service with Metro Parks. All employees of Metro Parks Tacoma are required to enroll in the Washington State's Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). All employees are also covered by Social Security. Employees are able to select medical and dental coverage from available plans. Metro Parks contributes a percentage towards the monthly cost of medical and dental coverage for employees and their dependents. Life insurance is provided at no cost to the employee. It is equal to the employee’s annual salary.

EMPLOYMENT: Positions may require weekend shifts and may require night shift, holiday, and overtime. All career positions have a 9-month probationary period. Metro Parks Tacoma is a drug and alcohol free workplace.