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How to Become a Zookeeper

Zookeepers take care of wild animals in zoos and animal parks. Learn how to get the right education to become a zookeeper.


  • Step 1: Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website for more detailed job information. The work can be dangerous and require long hours and heavy lifting.
  • TIP: A zookeeper's job isn't always glamorous. Cleaning animal exhibits and cages can be part of your daily routine.
  • Step 2: Volunteer at a local zoo Volunteer at a local zoo for an entry-level view of a zookeeper's daily routine. The Louisville Zoo in Kentucky offers volunteer jobs for high school students.
  • TIP: Special high school programs include California's North Hollywood High School Zoo Magnet.
  • Step 3: Visit the American Association of Zookeepers site Visit the nonprofit American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) site to learn about zoology or biology degree programs offered at certain colleges.
  • TIP: Because zookeeper positions are rarely available, competition can be fierce. An advanced degree can give you an edge.
  • Step 4: Learn about 2-year programs Learn about two-year animal care programs taught at colleges with an on-campus zoo or an affiliation with an off-campus zoo.
  • TIP: Moorpark College in California and Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida, have on-campus teaching zoos.
  • Step 5: Learn about 4-year bachelor's degree programs Learn about four-year bachelor's degree zoology and biology programs at colleges offering hands-on experience at zoos.
  • TIP: Canisius College in Buffalo offers a four-year program with hands-on training at zoos in western New York and Ontario.
  • Step 6: Start at an entry-level zoo job Start at an entry-level zoo job such as a park aide or grounds cleaner. You'll have an inside track for newly available positions posted by human resources.
  • FACT: Opened in 1765, the Zoo Vienna, the world's oldest existing zoo, started as a menagerie for Austrian royalty.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Nearby zoo

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