How to become a Zookeeper

How to become a Zookeeper

£25,000

estimated salary
What do they do?

Always wanted to be a Zookeeper when you grew up? Why not start now…

Zookeepers care for a range of animals in zoos (just, you know, to make that clear), aquariums and even in the wild. However, just because this job is a childhood ambition for many, it’s far from easy. It means hard work and long days, and can involve conducting tours or scientific research as part of the day job.

Typical duties for a Zookeeper could also include:

  • Preparing food and feeding the animals
  • Ensuring all enclosures are kept clean, and temperature/humidity levels are maintained
  • Observing animal behaviour and checking for injuries
  • Caring for sick animals
  • Providing information for guests, and answering questions and giving talks to visitors
Is it right for me?

To become a Zookeeper, you’ll need to be good with all creatures, great and/or otherwise. You have to have great confidence and be completely comfortable around all kinds of animals, something which can seem easier said than done when it’s your turn to clear out the lion enclosure.

Warning: Those not willing to get their hands dirty need not apply…

Other key skills include:

  • Self-determination and a motivational personality
  • A passion for conservation
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Patience
  • A good level of physical fitness
Career Progression?

Trainee Zookeeper

Up to 14,000

Zookeeper

Up to 25,000

Head Keeper

Up to 40,000

What's it really like?

I’ve wanted to work with animals pretty much as far back as I can remember. I used to watch the Really Wild show every day after school – and not just because I had a crush on Terry Nutkins. I never even knew becoming a Zookeeper was an option, but after some voluntary work at my local wildlife park, I started working as a trainee. It’s like a dream job. I get to spend time with Lions and Tigers all day, and get paid for it. Not bears though. Someone else does that.

Get qualified

A degree is not essential for this role. However, some experience working with animals will be necessary, and there are many specific qualifications which can be taken to help set yourself apart.

Diploma of Zoology

A zoo keeper’s duties typically include care and maintenance of animals such as food preparation and keeping enclosures clean and safe. Oftentimes, they are required to make detailed observations as well as assist in capturing and restraining animals. Keeping records is usually part of the job too.

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Zoology Level 3

The Distance Learning Zoology Level 3 course is a fully comprehensive course as it provides you with an understanding of the theories regarding the origins of life, explains the nature and function of cells and explores the taxonomic classification system so that you will be able to identify and group species.

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