how to work at a zoo without a degree

Getting a job at a zoo is a great way to experience working in the outdoors and get paid to do it. However, if you don’t have a degree, there are still some things you need to know before applying. Among them are how to network, the duties of a zoo employee, and the salary.


Getting a job at a zoo without a degree is possible, but it is not without its own set of challenges. The animal world is a competitive place, and you will need to have a strong knowledge of animals and conservation to land a position.

Zoos are looking for people who are willing to put in the hard work, so be prepared to work long hours. Some zoos offer volunteer opportunities so that you can get some hands-on experience with animals. Other zoos have internships and seasonal jobs available, so be sure to check with the institution to see what’s available.

The best way to find a job at a zoo is to go in person, and you should bring along your resume and cover letter. The zoo may also keep your resume on file, which could be useful in the future if you decide to apply for another position.

If you have a driver’s license, a good driving record, and a high school diploma, you may qualify for a position at a large zoo. Some positions require CPR certification and First Aid training.

You may be able to find a position in administration or management. These positions require a strong knowledge of animal science, business administration, and community planning.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums publishes a career guidebook. They also publish online resources to help you learn more about zoo careers. You can also find the best zoo jobs by visiting zoos in person and searching online.

Getting a job at a zyoo is a great way to expand your professional experience and gain promotion opportunities. You may be able to help in the zoo’s breeding program or participate in scientific research.

Job duties

Whether you are an animal lover or a person with a passion for science, there are many different types of job duties at a zoo. Depending on the type of animal you work with, you may find yourself performing maintenance work, helping with breeding programs or doing research. No matter what your role, you will need to work with animals every day and have a strong level of interpersonal communication skills.

You may be required to report on unusual behavior or injuries. You will also need to make sure that the animals’ living quarters are clean and safe. Occasionally, you may be exposed to chemicals or zoonotic diseases.

Some zoos require you to hold a driving license. You may also need to work overtime or on weekends. This can be a challenging job.

You may be required to report on any injuries or illnesses to a supervisor. You will also need to make sure that animals are receiving the appropriate amount of food and medicine. You may need to repair or replace equipment.

You may need to work with animals that are injured or orphaned. You may also be responsible for educating the public about the animals. If you are a naturalist, you may lead nature hikes and answer questions from visitors. You may also be responsible for administrative tasks, such as recording data.

Many zoos have volunteer programs. Some zoos also offer work placements. If you are interested in becoming a zookeeper, you may want to consider applying for an apprenticeship. This can be a great way to learn the ins and outs of the job and develop skills you can apply to other animal-focused positions.


Getting a job as a zookeeper without a college degree may seem impossible, but it’s actually not. There are several colleges that offer programs that teach you how to work with animals and exotic animals. Depending on your experience and qualifications, you may be able to land a job in a zoo, an aquarium, or a research facility.

A zookeeper usually starts out as a volunteer and advances to a full-time position. These jobs often require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. In addition to this education, zookeepers are expected to pass an aptitude test and undergo training on animal husbandry. These jobs are very competitive and can take up to a year or two to secure a full-time position.

Although zoos are expected to add a few jobs, the competition is strong. The salaries vary by region and skill level. Those who have an advanced degree can expect to earn a higher pay than those who don’t.

Zoo salaries can range from $21,000 to $34,000, depending on location and skill level. Workers can expect to work outdoors and indoors, and they may have to deal with changing schedules.

Zoo directors usually hold advanced degrees and are responsible for managing the zoo’s entire facility. They may also be responsible for overseeing staff, animal collections, and aquariums. They are employed by zoos, aquariums, and governmental agencies.

Wildlife biologists study the natural habitats of animals and may find work in governmental agencies or educational facilities. They may monitor animal populations and movements and may develop strategic plans for habitat maintenance. These professionals can expect to earn a pay range similar to other biologists.

Zoos are open to the public 363 days a year. These facilities usually are owned by charitable trusts or government agencies.

On-the-job training

Getting on-the-job training at a zoo is possible for many people, even if they do not have a college degree. Many major zoos offer formal training courses for people interested in becoming zoo keepers. These courses teach people how to comfort animals in distress.

Zookeepers are responsible for the well-being of the animals in their care. They must be alert to behavioral changes, and they must be able to educate the public about the animals’ needs. They must also be willing to assist in veterinary procedures.

Keeping animals is an extremely competitive field. Many zoos require a bachelor’s degree. These degrees are available in biology, life sciences, zoology, and ecology. These degrees can be obtained through a college or a technical or vocational school. The degree program usually includes internships at zoos.

Zoos can also offer internships and volunteer opportunities. This can help teens gain experience in the field. They can also volunteer at animal centers or take their children on trips to aquaria or natural history museums.

In addition to a college degree, zookeepers may also want to consider further education to help them move up in the profession. A veterinary tech program may be an option. This training is usually less academic and will give a person the knowledge they need to secure a more advanced position at an animal facility.

For more information about zoo internships and other opportunities, check out the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ website. They also offer web-based training courses and seminars.

If you are interested in becoming a veterinarian, you will need a doctorate in veterinary medicine. This is usually a three or four year program. The degree is expensive, but can help a person secure a position at an animal facility.


Having a degree in zoology is not necessarily a prerequisite to landing a high paying job in this field. Depending on your employer you may be lucky enough to find an entry level position that offers you the opportunity to learn on the job. There are also numerous apprenticeship programs available at some of the nation’s best zoos.

If you don’t have the budget for a degree, the best way to get your foot in the door is to get a few internships. These can be especially helpful if you are interested in pursuing a career in zookeeping. You may even be able to earn a few college credits in the process.

For example, if you are interested in a career in animal care, you may be able to earn an associate’s degree in animal management or a bachelor’s degree in zoology. You can also opt for a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management, which is a good way to learn on the job. You might even be able to score a coveted position as a trainee zookeeper.

The best way to find out about these opportunities is to attend zoo or aquarium events. If you are lucky enough to be in attendance at a major event, there is a good chance you will be able to meet and mingle with the industry’s top movers and shakers. Some of these networking events may even be free. Hopefully, these experiences are the catalysts to an enjoyable and fulfilling career. For the most part, zoos are family friendly. You might even have the opportunity to see a few of your favorite animals up close and personal.

Chelsea Glover