Zoo Career Opportunities

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: 

  •  Accountant
  •  Animal Keeper
  •  Carpenter
  •  Catering
  •  Cleaner
  •  Education
  •  Horticulturist
  •  Mechanic
  •  Personnel Manager
  •  Promotions, Marketing & Public Relations
  •  Records Officer
  •  Security
  •  Ticket Seller
  •  Vet nurse
  •  Administration
  •  Computer Technician
  •  Curator
  •  Conservation & Research
  •  Electrician
  •  Graphic Artist
  •  Nutritionist
  •  Plumber
  •  Painter
  •  Receptionist
  •  Sales person
  •  Secretary
  • Veterinarian
  • Welder

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

If you would like to be notified by e-mail when new vacancies are posted to the AZK web site, simply send an e-mail to Australasian_Zoo_Keeping-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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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;
    •  Animal Care and Management Training Package
    •  Introduction to Animal Nursing
    •  Nursing & Management of Wildlife
  •  Study at University - e.g.;
    •  Zoology
    •  Veterinarian studies
    •  Environmental management
    •  Biology
    •  Unitec Care of Captive Wild Animals

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.

Related Careers 
Some other careers working with wildlife which you also might consider pursuing include;

  •  University Research Assistant
  •  Research Scientist
  •  Technical Officer
  •  National Park Ranger
  •  Wildlife Officer

Further Information
Please check out currently advertised Zoo positions within the Australasian region here

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 here.









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Revised: 14-06-2020.