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Mississippi Aquarium

Animal Care Specialist

Animal Care Specialist Job Description

Position Title:         Animal Care Specialist

Department:            Animal Care and Conservation

Classification:         Part-Time, Hourly, Non-Exempt


This position requires a highly motivated individual who will take direction from the Curators, Managers, and VP of Animal Care and Conservation in carrying out the animal care routine and maintenance for an assigned set of habitats or holding tanks.  The position will also be responsible for: maintaining organized written records pertaining to health, feeding, water quality, animal welfare and behavioral observations, and adhering to all aquarium safety protocols, standard operating procedures, and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation standards.


  • Provides care for all specimens in assigned areas through proper husbandry protocols involving daily observations, feedings, behavioral enrichment, environmental enrichment, water quality monitoring, and life support system (LSS) operations

  • Ensures guest satisfaction by maintaining exhibits through daily maintenance

  • Keeps support areas clean, organized, and safe

  • Complies with all standard operating procedures (SOPs) pertaining to daily operations and safety

  • Maintains records in accordance with protocols or as directed

  • Provides coverage of other biologists and areas as assigned

  • Cross-trains with other staff within the department

  • Promotes conservation, animal welfare, and good stewardship in daily tasks

  • Supports interactive programs and educational presentations in assigned areas

  • Undertakes special projects as assigned by manager(s)


  • A four-year degree in aquatic sciences, zoology, biology, psychology or related field. Course work should include zoology, mammalogy, ethology, ecology, psychology, physiology, and animal care.

  • Previous animal care experience is preferred. This may be in the form of jobs or internships at public aquariums or zoos.

  • Previous animal care experience from and accredited AZA institution or equivalent, aquaculture facility, or zoo is preferred and may be considered in lieu of a degree.

  • Detailed knowledge of the biology, behavior, and natural history of a multi-taxa collection

  • Detailed knowledge of the operant conditioning and positive reinforcement animal behavioral conditioning techniques

  • Experience with accurate and timely record-keeping a collection management

  • Familiarity with basic medications and vaccinations programs

  • Knowledge of proper animal conformation & body conditions, gestation/incubation periods and nutrition

  • Demonstrated mechanical skills, basic LSS plumbing, and understanding of LSS theory and operation

  • Excellent observation and communication skills

  • Strong interpersonal skills and ethics that sustain a positive and professional environment

  • A valid driver’s license and ability to travel if necessary

  • Valid SCUBA certification

  • Strong swimming skills

  • Ability to successfully complete area swim test

  • Ability to work weekends, holidays, days closed due to inclement weather

  • Ability to prepare and conduct public educational programs

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


  • Safety & Security - All Team Members are required to adhere to all Mississippi Aquarium safety and security standards.  

  • Attendance & Appearance - To maximize the guest’s experience, all Team Members are required to adhere to Mississippi Aquarium standard operating procedures regarding attendance and dress code policies as it relates to individual job functionality. Tattoos and piercings must be appropriate and in keeping with a professional image. Depending on the work area, management reserves the right to determine that tattoos will need to be covered during your shift.

  • Sales & Guest Services - Our forward-thinking business model requires listening and understanding the needs of our guests both internal and external.  To that end, we must always be focused on the guest experience which is the key driver for return guest visitation and increased sales.  

  • Team Partnership - All Team Members are focused on supporting each other to complete the guest experience.  Therefore, supporting, facilitating, and participating in activities that promote team effectiveness is vital to our Organization.  


The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 60 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

How to Apply

Mississippi Aquarium is hiring for part-time animal care specialists in multiple areas of Animal Care.

For the full job descriptions with a list of current openings and for instructions to apply, visit

Mississippi Aquarium
Gulfport, MS

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