This course will help aquarists build their husbandry, design and leadership skills to advance both their career and institution. Students will experience a blend of lectures, group discussions, question and answer sessions, behind the scenes tours, and hands-on activities. This interactive class involvement also yields rich opportunities for networking with colleagues. Participants will explore the many facets of modern aquariums including best practices and leadership across the fields of animal care and conservation, life support, exhibit design, and much more.
Paul Clarkson, Senior Curator, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Dr. Ally McNaughton, Staff Veterinarian, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Rachel Metz, Director of Live Exhibits, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Chris Spaulding, Director of Husbandry Operations, Planet Aqua Group
Lise Watson, Collections Manager, Shedd Aquarium
Marcus Zevalkink, General Curator, John Ball Zoo
Is This Course Right for You?
This course is designed for aquarists with two to five years of experience working in a public aquarium or similar facility looking to expand their skills to become leaders within their institutions and the profession.
None. Priority will be given to AZA members. Those not affiliated with an AZA accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this course to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
- Student registration
- Opening evening ceremony
- Class meets all day
- Classes meet
- Closing ceremony
Attendance for course participants is required for the duration of the course until the evening of the last day. As a result, individuals generally depart the following day. Attendees will receive a detailed schedule for their course after their registration is confirmed.
Travel & Accommodations
Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) are the closest airports. MDW is closer and provides easier access to the hotel via public transportation. Course participants will stay at a designated hotel downtown within walking distance of Shedd Aquarium.
General Hotel Pricing*:
$175+ for One King Bed
195+ for Two Queen Bed
Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.
Tuition & Expenses*
The AZA registration fee below covers tuition and lunches for each day of the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and other meals. Registration prices are subject to change.
Scholarship funding for courses is available through a competitive process. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September.
Early Bird Rates:
$775 for AZA Individual Members
$875 for Non-members
Registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date
$875 for AZA Individual Members
$975 for Non-members
Final registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date
Accepted forms of payment for registration are by: credit card, check or purchase order. Registration for this course will remain open until all spaces in the course and on the wait-list are reserved.
*Prices are subject to change
To register with a credit card
You may now register and pay online with a credit card! Non-members can log in too, after creating a free account. After logging in, choose "Professional Development" from the menu on the left. Next, click on the title of the event for which you would like to register. Finally, choose "Event Registration" from the options at the top and complete the registration process. When registering online, there is no need to submit the registration form. You will receive an acceptance email or wait list email once acceptance decisions are made.
To register with a check or purchase order
Download the AZA Course Registration Form and return by mail with check or purchase order. Checks sent for course payment will be cashed immediately upon receipt as per standard business practices. Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or a wait list email once acceptance decisions are made. If you are not admitted into the course from the waitlist, a full refund will be promptly issued.
Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.