Have you ever wondered what it might be like to work in a zoo or aquarium?
The people who work in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are passionately committed to the animals in their care and to the critical need for conserving wildlife and wild places. But the profession requires more than a commitment to conservation - it requires hard work.
Zoo and aquarium employment is not always glamorous. Much of the work requires physical strength, as well as the ability to make detailed observations and keep information up-to-date. It takes a special kind of dedication to provide care to animals that require attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week, come snow, rain, or shine.
Keepers (who work in zoos) and aquarists (who work in aquariums) provide direct care for animals including feeding, cleaning, enrichment, training, monitoring animal health, and educating the visitors are all part of their daily responsibilities. The American Association of Zoo Keepers is a great source for information about zoo keeping as a career.
Other animal care jobs in zoos and aquariums include curators, veterinarians and veterinary technicians, and research scientists. You don't have to work with animals to work in zoos and aquariums. You can be an educator, a fund raiser, a graphic designer or artist, a horticulturist, or a photographer. And, of course, someone has to be the director! Here's a list of typical zoo and aquarium jobs.
Many AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums offer internships designed to provide practical experience. You can search for current internships in our Job Listings. You can also contact specific zoos or aquariums for internship opportunities. Here's a list of AZA-accredited institutions.
There are many other professional associations with information on zoo- and aquarium-related careers, such as animal training or zoological horticulture. Take a look at this list of Allied Professional Associations.