(Closed) A career in a Zoo? How to?

posted 3 years ago in College
Post # 2
407 posts
Helper bee

Hi fellow vet tech! Careers in zoo medicine are hard to come by. Take as much exotic ce as you can. And I think volunteering at a zoo is a good place to start. 

I also think you should join vspn and post questions about this on their message board. You will find much more info from people there than here. There is the academy of zoo vet techs that you will want to join too. Again, more info will be found on vspn.

Post # 4
247 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

You’ll want to go into Biology and Zoology and/or pursue an actual vet degree.  Zoo jobs that actually get time with the animals are highly coveted, but low in demand.  Most of the people in those positions are extremely overqualified, so you have to get as much education and experience as possible to even be considered.  At least that is what it is like in my area (Toledo Zoo area).  You may need to find a job at a zoo doing park ops or something and build relationships with the staff there while you’re in school.  

Also, I don’t know if money is a big factor for you or not, but from what I’ve seen here zookeepers only make about $20,000 per year 🙁 

Post # 5
2454 posts
Buzzing bee

Zoo jobs are very hard to get into. I had my vet tech internship at a very prestigious zoo and I am still finding it impossible. The jobs are very few and hard to come by. The zoo had my internship in only had three vet techs and they ate still there…. So it’s very hard to find openings. I would definitely volunteer somewhere that deals with different animals. You can volunteer at a children’s barn or something along those lines to get more familiar with farm animals. I volunteered at a exotic animal rescue, so they took in illegal pets that got confiscated from police and then they would go to school and ecudate them ln why they made bad pets. They had wolves and alligators and snakes. It was lots of fun, and I had a ton of hands on experience. 

Sidenote: my experience in the zoo was not what I expected at all So volunteering might be a good option to see if that’s something you would really want to do. 

Post # 6
51 posts
Worker bee

Have you looked into the EATM program in Moorpark, CA? Its an awesome 2 year training program that is very well respected and people from all over the country apply. 

Post # 7
1746 posts
Bumble bee

The only person I knew who worked at a Zoo worked in animal behavior / training.  She was big into positive reinforcement (because you can’t ‘force’ a large animal) and helped train “tricks” but really they were behaviors that would help with vet exams, etc.  “laughing = opening mouth” “rolling on back = position for abdominal exam” etc. 

Post # 8
891 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

I don’t know about zoo medicine, but Darling Husband and I have several friends who are zookeepers (DH volunteered at our zoo for 10 years). They all have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in zoology/biology. It’s very competitive to get hired as a keeper. It helps to volunteer and get to know the right people to get your foot in the door. Of course anyone with the right degree can apply for open positions, but honestly, our zoo won’t even consider someone who hadn’t volunteered for them. It’s a very tight-knit, “club” kinda feeling, and people really have to work hard to prove themselves. I’m sure anyone else who works directly with the animals goes through the same thing.

Post # 9
541 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Zoo’s are hard to get into for higher up fields. Definietly go get a masters in zoology. 

Post # 10
709 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

aushi:  I would take the route of obtaining a degree in bio or zoology, then apply to zoos and amusement parks that do rescues… Also there are reserves that specialize in big cats or apes so that might be a foot in to get the experience even if you need to volunteer to get it. 

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