AZA is dedicated to maintaining and promoting standards of excellence in all aspects of education. Accreditation Standards and Board approved policies have been established to ensure this objective is met and often evolve to meet increasingly rigorous criteria.
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are required to meet or exceed all AZA Accreditation Standards, including those relating to education. All AZA-accredited institutions must ensure that education is a central tenet in their mission, must develop a written education plan that matches current industry standards, and must regularly evaluate their education programs. The education plan should include the institution's conservation messages, preferably referencing the AZA Conservation Education Messages. Elements evaluated for accreditation include:
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are also required to follow all education-related AZA Board-approved policies including the Animal Contact, Ambassador Animal, and Presentation of Animal policies: