If you’re considering a career in animal care, but don’t have a degree, there are still many ways to get your foot in the door at a zoo. The first step is to visit a zoo’s human resources department and see what positions are available. You can also look for internship or volunteer opportunities. Your college may also be able to provide you with placement assistance for a job at the zoo.
Veterinary tech programs
Veterinary techs at zoos play an important role in the care of animals, helping the world’s endangered species remain safe. These veterinary technicians undergo rigorous training in a specialized field. These vet techs are also required to meet strict safety guidelines, as their job responsibilities include handling dangerous and exotic animals. By entering your zip code, you can find a veterinary technician program near you.
Veterinary tech students receive hands-on training at a veterinary clinic in their local area. Their clinical hours are supervised by a licensed veterinarian. The program is a two-year full-time program that earns a degree in veterinary technology. Graduate technicians can choose to work for private practice zoos, veterinary hospitals, emergency and specialty clinics, educational institutions, government agencies, and more. During their training, they work with farm and companion animals, horses, and exotic species.
Some veterinary techs are trained to work in animal shelters. These technicians may be involved in euthanasia, but their work is beneficial to both animals and their owners. A vet tech who specializes in nutrition can work with owners to prioritize good diets for their pets. They can also assist veterinarians in diagnosing symptoms of poor diets.
Most veterinary tech programs require a two-year associate’s degree, though some institutions offer four-year bachelor’s degree programs. In addition to animal care, vet techs learn how to prepare medications, conduct laboratory tests, and assist dental procedures. In addition to learning the skills needed to work in a veterinary practice, students are required to pass a national certification exam.
Veterinary technicians may work for a variety of organizations, including zoos, wildlife facilities, and boarding kennels. They may also work in a supervisory position where they manage staff and help other vet technicians. Veterinary clinics require 24-hour staffing, so technicians may work nights, weekends, and even holidays.
Zoo technology programs
Zoo technology programs without a degree can be challenging to complete. In addition to the requirements for a degree program, you will need to complete a Zoo Technology application. These applications are competitive and you must meet certain requirements to be admitted. Once accepted, you must begin taking core program courses in the Fall semester. If you have already completed some college coursework, you may be able to transfer that credit into the program. If not, you will need to take additional coursework and reapply the next year.
Zoo technology programs without a degree are available at a number of accredited universities and colleges in the United States. At the Columbus Zoo, for example, the program is intensive, with 24 students accepted per year. The program requires students to take prerequisite courses in math, chemistry, and zoo science. You must also maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. You may begin working with zoo animals during your sophomore year. Tuition for a full-time program costs around $597 per credit.
A degree program in zoo science is also available at Friends University, which has a close partnership with the Sedgwick County Zoo. Although the curriculum is geared more towards a biology degree than a zoology degree, it still provides a strong foundation for future work in a zoo.
The Zoo and Aquarium Science Program offers two curriculum tracks. Both track are designed to prepare students for employment in zoos, public aquariums, or similar animal care facilities. The programs emphasize the science of animal behavior, conservation, and health, as well as the interaction between people and animals. In addition, the coursework prepares students to assist in veterinary procedures and give interpretive presentations to the public.
Taking a wide selection of electives
If you want to work at a zoo but don’t have a degree, there are several options available to you. You can take a variety of electives or a certificate program in zoology and learn about the different types of animals and how they are cared for. You can also gain valuable hands-on experience by volunteering at zoos, animal centers, and animal shelters.
It can be difficult to make friends with people who work with animals, but networking is important for a zoo career. You will need to be comfortable around others, and it may be difficult to get past shyness. It may help to have pet animals so you can practice socializing with other employees.
Zoos are looking for people with many skills. While many animal career seekers are interested in interacting with exotic animals, zoos also need managers and administrators. Taking a wide selection of electives is a great way to enhance your resume and improve your chances of landing a position at a zoo.
Those with a bachelor’s degree can pursue careers at zoos through internships. While you will need to take many electives and do some volunteer work, you will gain a lot of hands-on experience in a zoo environment. You will also develop your practical skills and be able to apply them in the workplace.
Getting a job at a zoo
If you are interested in becoming a zookeeper, you should consider getting a degree. Zookeepers are required to have at least a four-year college degree with an emphasis on animal sciences, conservation, biology, or ecology. Other options include working as a veterinary technician or wildlife caretaker, which requires less education but will require close contact with animals.
Another way to gain valuable hands-on experience at a zoo is to become a volunteer. Many zoos have volunteer internship programs that allow local community members to interact with animals and assist with educational programs. Other zoos also offer paid part-time or seasonal positions in which interns can work directly with animals.
Many modern zoos are actively involved in conservation efforts. Zookeepers in animal welfare roles focus on protecting endangered species and educating visitors about environmental challenges. Although not essential, some colleges offer special zookeeping courses that can provide students with specific skills and knowledge.
Volunteering at zoos can also increase your chances of employment. Some zoos offer volunteer positions for older people. Getting involved in zoos and wildlife rehabilitation programs will help you gain valuable experience that can lead to paid internships and valuable job referrals. In addition, volunteering at zoos can help you network and develop relationships with zookeepers.
Many zoo keepers started out as volunteers. You can also start working at the zoo as an animal keeper and move up the ladder as your experience grows.