how to work at a zoo without a degree

If you have an interest in working with animals but don’t want to commit to a degree, there are many ways you can get involved. These include volunteering, interning at zoos or other animal facilities and applying for jobs.

Zoo keepers care for a variety of animals and work to ensure their wellbeing by maintaining their living areas, providing enrichment and a nutritious diet. They also educate people about zoo animals and conservation issues.


If you are looking for a way to work at a zoo without a degree, there are several different options. One option is to apply for a paid internship. Many zoos have these types of positions available. This is a great way to get hands-on experience and gain skills that can help you in your future career.

Another option is to volunteer at a zoo, animal shelter, or vet clinic. These jobs are also a great way to get your “animal fix” and gain experience that can be used on your resume. Some zoos have volunteer opportunities that allow you to help with animals and a few even allow you to shadow a keeper during the day.

For example, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (in Ohio) has a number of internships for students who are interested in the field of animal care. These positions are unpaid and are available during the spring, fall, and summer seasons.

These programs are designed to give college students hands-on experience in the field of conservation education. They involve a wide variety of activities such as teaching classes, field trip programs, Safari Camps, and more. The program helps interns to develop skills in public speaking, program development, interpretation, and environmental stewardship.

There are many different internship opportunities at zoos, so be sure to check out the zoo’s website to find out what is available. This can be a great way to meet new people and make friends, as well as gain valuable experience.

The American Association of Zoo Keepers maintains a list of zoo internships on their website. These positions are great ways to gain real-world experience and make a lasting impression on a potential employer.

In addition to providing you with valuable internship experience, these positions also look good on your resume and will help you land a job at a zoo once you are finished with school. Plus, a zoo internship is a great way to show prospective employers that you are serious about your studies and have the right skills for the job.

Internships can be done in a number of different ways, but the best ones provide you with an opportunity to learn about the company’s business and the role you will fill. Most internships will involve a variety of duties that don’t seem too exciting or challenging at first, but the more you put into it, the more you will learn and gain from it.


Volunteering is a great way to gain useful skills and experience without needing a degree. The benefits are many, from meeting new people, to learning about a new culture, and even improving your mental health!

Taking on a volunteer position at a zoo is one of the best ways to give back to the community and meet like-minded people. It also helps you learn about the zoo’s animals and conservation initiatives.

You can volunteer in the zoo’s animal care department as a veterinary technician or a wildlife education officer, depending on your interests and skill set. In addition to these positions, you can also serve as a docent and help visitors navigate the zoo.

Zoos are also looking for volunteers to assist with horticulture projects and other tasks around the zoo. These can include things like planting, mulching, weeding and more!

These jobs tend to be more physical, so you may need to do light lifting and reach, carry, and stand while you work. They aren’t as fun as cuddling a lion or monkey, but they’re safe and can be a great way to give back to the zoo.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can try a local volunteer agency. They can point you in the right direction and provide advice on which zoos are accepting volunteers.

Alternatively, you can sign up to volunteer with an international organisation, such as Worldpackers. They will provide you with a variety of volunteering opportunities in countries around the world and can offer exclusive travel discounts!

The main benefit of volunteering is that it gives you something to do that’s meaningful and fulfilling. It’s also a good way to meet new people and build relationships with them, especially if you live far from home.

It’s also a fantastic way to make friends with people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and social groups. If you’re moving to a new country, volunteering is a great way to meet people and become familiar with the local culture.

Besides the obvious benefits, you’ll also find that volunteering will help you develop your professional skills. You can learn new skills, such as communication or public speaking, and you can put those skills on your resume for potential employers to see. In fact, a study found that young people who volunteered were more confident and believed they had improved their communication skills.

Applying for a job

Zoos, animal shelters and other wildlife attractions around the world need people with a passion for conservation to work alongside paid staff. These roles often involve working with exotic animals and educating visitors about wildlife conservation challenges.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time career or part-time work, there are a wide range of ways to find a job in this field without needing a degree. The most common way is to apply for a position as a volunteer or to look at work placements and internships offered by zoos, aquariums and other animal attractions.

As a zookeeper, your primary duty is to ensure the welfare of the animals in your care. This includes feeding, watering and veterinary treatment. You also need to maintain clean, safe work environments, and a high level of hygiene. The job is physically demanding and requires long hours, with early starts and weekends.

Keepers need to have good interpersonal and communication skills. They also need to be knowledgeable about the biology of the animal species they’re caring for. They need to know how to prevent disease, protect the health of their animals and promote breeding success.

It is possible to work in a zoo without a degree, but you need to make sure that your experience and qualifications are up to scratch. This is especially true of a zookeeper role, which requires a qualification at least to Level 3.

The key to getting a job in this profession is to gain practical experience. This can be achieved by volunteering or interning at zoos, kennels or other local animal organisations. This will build your skills, show employers that you have a commitment to conservation and can demonstrate your ability to work with animals.

Alternatively, you could consider a postgraduate course in zoo conservation or zoology, which will give you an edge in a competitive industry. These courses are available from a number of universities and can be a great way to enhance your qualifications in the field, as well as giving you the skills and knowledge that will help you progress in your career.


Working at a zoo can be a great way to make a difference in the world and have a fulfilling career. It can be difficult to find a job in this field, but with the right research and dedication, you can land one.

Zoo employees provide routine care to zoo animals and maintain zoo facilities. They also communicate with members of the public to ensure zoo safety and teach visitors about animal species.

In order to work at a zoo, you will need to gain experience in the animal-care industry. This can be achieved through internships or volunteering. You can even take online courses that will help you develop your skills in a zoological environment.

Employers are looking for candidates who want to be a zookeeper because they have a genuine interest in helping zoo animals thrive. It’s important to be confident in your ability and able to demonstrate your commitment to zookeeping at an interview.

Another thing that employers look for during an interview is your level of motivation. They want to know that you are committed to this career path and will be willing to work hard to succeed in it.

If you’re not sure what to say when they ask this question, you can use the information from your resume and references to provide answers. For example, you can discuss the experiences you have gained while volunteering at a zoo or while performing animal research for your degree.

You can also mention any informal education you have undertaken that is relevant to the zookeeper position. This could include researching pet-based first aid, learning how to care for certain plant species or gaining experience in veterinary medicine.

Your answer can be tailored to the specific position you’re applying for, such as a wildlife technician or veterinary assistant. You can also highlight any relevant work experiences and emphasize how your experience has shaped your passion for animals.

Whether you’re applying for a volunteer position or a full-time job, it’s always a good idea to send a follow-up email. This shows the employer that you’re still interested in their position and reminds them to look over your application materials.

Chelsea Glover