If you're the type of person who has a desire to work with animals and enjoys a challenging career, then working as a Zoo Keeper might peak your interest. Securing a job as a Zoo Keeper will take a serious commitment to make this job opportunity possible. The general responsibilities of a Zoo Keeper may include feeding the animals, cleaning the habitat, grooming, providing reports of the overall behavior and conditions of the animals. You will likely have direct interactions with both staff and the general public. Interpersonal communication skills in addition to general office and computer skills will most likely be a requirement of the job.
Education, training and experience will also be key factors to getting a position as a Zoo Keeper. While there are no degrees specific to zoo keeping, most all employers will have specific requirements that you will need to meet in order to qualify for such positions. Be sure to review the requirements and skills needed for any employer you are seeking a job with. In most cases a solid education with a degree in zoology, animal sciences and even biology are great steps to qualify for such a position.
Beyond just the education requirements, there are other factors that will better your opportunity for landing a job as a Zoo Keeper. Volunteer work will be favorable and will enhance any resume when applying. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available such as your local animal shelter, your local zoo or aquarium and even assisting on a local farm. All of the volunteer jobs can be personally rewarding and beneficial to your resume. Helping out at an animal shelter is something even middle school children can do with the supervision of a parent or guardian. Having this background of working with the animals and getting an understanding of the care and responsibilities of such a position is helpful. You may even find the some volunteer positions have you interacting with the public or helping develop presentations or assisting in organizing a fundraiser. Regardless of the volunteer work, it's the experience you gain that will help achieve your goal of becoming a Zoo Keeper.
In addition to volunteer work and education, you can find internship programs available through your local zoo, nature preserves or aquariums. An excellent resource for potential internship opportunities is the American Association of Zoo Keepers (https://aazk.org/job-listings/all/). Intern programs will offer the hands on training that is critical for a Zoo Keeper position. This is also an excellent opportunity for networking and learning. Be sociable to build the relationships in the industry to create a solid network that can assist you in landing that perfect job. Ask a lot of questions. Formal education is very important but hands on experience with guidance from a professional or mentor is of key importance to your learning as well.
To bolster both your experience and resume, seek out additional certifications that will enhance your background. Certifications such as CPR, Scuba Diving and computer training are great additions to your resume. These certifications may be required in some circumstances depending on the job you are seeking. The goal is to gain as much experience as possible that builds a great resume to stand out against the others.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, people in the animal care and service industry earn on average $23k a year. While the pay may not be substantial, the experience can be an excellent stepping stone to further your career within the industry. As well, there is likely a personal satisfaction that you are providing care for animals to help sustain their species and educating others on animal knowledge and care. Good luck on your ventures into the animal kingdom.