Zoos today employ a wide range
of people from a number of different professions, and many of the larger
Zoos have a number of different departments and a variety of jobs. Some of the
career opportunities at your local Zoo may include:
- Animal Keeper
- Personnel Manager
Marketing & Public Relations
- Ticket Seller
- Vet nurse
- Computer Technician
How are Zoo vacancies advertised?
Positions which become
available are usually advertised in the employment section of local newspapers and various industry journals. Many positions at the larger Zoos are increasingly being placed on various Government or Zoo web sites.
Check out currently
advertised Zoo positions within the Australasian region here,
or for a list of other useful sites, please go to the
of the AZK web site.
If you would like to be notified by e-mail when new vacancies
are posted to the AZK web site, simply send a blank e-mail to
Keepers at work
Zoo Keeper Job Prospects
In Australia there are relatively few Zoo Keeper positions available.
When positions do come up, they are generally highly sought after and
often there is very strong competition for the position. Positions may be filled permanently, temporarily
or on a contract basis. In the larger institutions a grading system exists for Zoo Keepers, with promotion to the next level based on skills, performance, expertise and knowledge.
What does a Zoo Keeper do?
Generally the duties of a Zoo Keeper include the care and maintenance of captive animals and their enclosures, with the cleaning of enclosures and food areas, and the preparation of food taking up most of a Keepers day. The safety of both the animals and Zoo visitors must always be of prime consideration, and so the security of enclosures is also a very
important role of a Zoo Keeper.
Specialist Zoo Keepers may focus upon the care and management of native or exotic mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fish, animal training, vet hospital or other specialised areas of animal management.
Zoo Keepers are also generally required to maintain detailed animal records, administer treatments under veterinary supervision, make detailed observations of their charges
and assist in the capture and restraint of animals. Zoo Keepers are often in the public eye and must be able to communicate well and answer general enquiries in a pleasant and courteous manner. Many Zoo Keepers also come into contact with the media.
Most Zoo Keepers are required to work a roster which involves working on weekends and public holidays.
What Qualifications and Experience do I need?
Whilst the qualifications required to undertake a career in Zoo Keeping varies between institutions, the attainment of VCE,
HSC or its equivalent is often a minimum requirement, and applicants are usually expected to hold a current drivers
license. Generally the most important prerequisite for gaining employment as a Zoo Keeper is experience in some kind of animal-related area.
A few ways in which you may be able to gain the necessary qualifications for a career as a Zoo Keeper include;
- Study biology
in Year 11 & 12
- Study at TAFE
in one of the following areas;
- Study at University - e.g.;
Experience can be gained
in either a voluntary or paid basis, and can be obtained by working in
smaller private zoos, aquariums and private fauna parks, veterinary clinics, farms, kennels or lost dogs homes,
catteries, horse stables, pet shops or with wildlife care
organisations such as WIRES and the RSPCA.
Most Zoos do not have
a formal traineeship program in place, but many Zoos do
offer work experience placements to secondary students. You
should check with the education section of your local Zoo
about the possibility of work experience placements.
Some other careers working with wildlife which you
also might consider pursuing include;
currently advertised Zoo
positions within the Australasian region here, or
have a look in
links section for
directions to a number of web sites which advertise vacant positions on
a regular basis.
How do I apply for a job?
For information to assist you in understanding the recruitment process
in Australia, as well as guidance and tips for preparing an application
and interview techniques, please go