Getting a zoo keeper job.

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How did you get your start doing zoo keeper work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

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Lucy in Detroit, Michigan

94 months ago

i don't know exactly what qualfications are needed. i Do know that before applying for a job it is a really good idea to have expeirence, work with a vet or even volenteer at a zoo. That will set you ahead of other with no expeirence because you will know a version of the environment and what it is like to work with animals on a day to day basis.

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Emma in London, United Kingdom

92 months ago

I don't know exactly what qualifications you need (it may depend on what animals you wish to work with, or which zoo you go to), although obviously I think it is a good idea to take things such as Zoology, Husbandry, Animal Biology etc. I am also looking at becoming a Zookeeper, and I have found a particularly good website which answered a lot of my questions. This is the link. careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/554/Zookeeper.html

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tony spain in Perth, Australia

77 months ago

i have no qualifications but i found that most zoos prefer hands on exp most people can do years of research on animals but when it comes to handling that animal there cluless.although it helps to have a certificate . just work hard try volunteering at a zoo make an good impresion and they might take you on an internship being a good cleaner is one of the secrets to geting a job in a zoo the rest you will learn as you go along hope this helps

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calvin dinet in Chalmette, Louisiana

69 months ago

I am looking for a job. I am a hard worker, I can clesn/feed and get the job done.Thank you, calvin

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calvin dinet in Chalmette, Louisiana

69 months ago

I can learn, I love animals,very good with people, i would clean , pickup debre, I would be a very good zoo keeper or whatever you need me for. Thank you, calvin

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Faith Moon in Durant, Oklahoma

67 months ago

I am 17 years old and i have been around animals my hole life and animals are part of my life with out animals i would not now what to do i can do any thing u need dune i'm not scared of any animal i've worked with lots of diffrent animals in my life time like buffalo, tigers, woves, lomas, and ostreages and other kind of animals and i would like to have a job with workin with ur animals. I am a very hard worker and i will not disapoint you.

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TurkeyVulture in Portland, Oregon

59 months ago

I am 30 years old and began pursuing a career in zoo keeping when I was 28.

I started by volunteering heavily at my local zoo. I racked up about 2500 hours of volunteer experience and then began applying for internships.

Even though I do not have a college education, I was offered every internship I applied for, and chose one that was paid, since I knew from talking to established keepers that what really counts on your resume is PAID HOURS AT AZA-ACCREDITED FACILITIES. Most keeper job postings actually specify that they want applicants to have a minimum of X hours' paid experience.

After my internship, I took a series of seasonal/temporary keeper and keeper's assistant jobs, staying flexible enough to move to other cities as work became available. Having a diverse resume with several different zoos has been very helpful to me, too.

Once I had accumulated about 2000 hours of paid experience, I started to see more interest in hiring me as a full-time keeper. I am now interviewing for multiple keeper positions around the country even though I do not have a college education. I think it's really the quality and quantity of your hands-on experience that counts in this field, although having an education in life sciences will NEVER hurt! :)

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Dennis in Staunton, Illinois

56 months ago

Here's some info from the St. Louis zoo

So You Want to be a Zookeeper?
www.stlzoo.org/animals/soyouwanttobeazookeeper/

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Keeper2Be in Roanoke, Virginia

55 months ago

I got started as a zookeeper by volunteering at my local zoo. When one of the keepers at that time gave a 2 weeks notice, the curator called me up that afternoon to offer me the position (since he knew I was interested if a spot opened up). A lot of zoos would rather hire "from the inside" compared to bringing in someone completely new. Though the experience is different for everyone getting into the field, I volunteered about twice a week for five months. It was well worth the wait.

As far as qualifications it depends on the zoo. I have a BS and MS in Animal Sciences (though most zoos only require a Bachelors) and I have worked for 2 years as a veterinary technician. Though it was a lot of schooling, it has been a HUGE help! Anyone can carry hay bales and hose down exhibits, but keepers have to take the next step and make very close observations of subtle differences in diet and behavior changes in animals. You need to be proficient in understanding anatomy, physiology, nutrition, genetics, reproduction, behavior and training, veterinary medicine, etc.

I highly recommend getting a 4 year degree in the life science field (animal science, wildlife science, biology, biochemistry) and getting as much experience with animals as possible; even working with regular dogs and cats in a vet clinic can be excellent preparation for working with wolves and snow leopards later on. You can also read the AZA.org website under "job listings" to see what kind of qualifications zoos are hiring for. Hope this helps!

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Megan in Denver, Colorado

38 months ago

Here is a new article with info + good links to zoo keeping jobs and necessary qualifications :)

endangeredspecies.about.com/od/careerswildlifemanagement/a/Working-For-A-Zoo.htm

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