How Do You Become a Zookeeper
Many kids and adults alike are interested in learning what it takes to become a zookeeper. If you are one of them, you might have a list of questions ready about choosing this as a career.
It takes more than being an animal lover to become a zookeeper. Zookeepers have to make sure the animals they are looking after are healthy, thriving, and happy. They are responsible for providing them training and conditioning to accept human contact. They have to take care of their nutritional needs as well. Therefore, a zookeeper must have certain qualities to do the job right. They need to be observant, physically fit, passionate, and empathic towards animals.
Tasks and duties of a zookeeper
The responsibilities may differ if you are an entry-level zookeeper. But generally, they revolve around the following tasks:
- Feeding animals and taking care of their dietary needs
- Cleaning out the enclosures
- Training animals to respond to human commands
- Presenting information to the visitors during tours or Q/A sessions
- Providing the vet with reports
- Taking care of the injured, sick, and unhappy animals
What qualifications are required?
Do you need special qualifications to become a zookeeper? The answer is not. The minimum education requirement is a high school education. If you have a degree in animal science or zoology, it will make your resume more attractive to the zoo authorities. There are a handful of keeper training programs that you can take to increase your chances of getting selected.
Being a zookeeper is a huge responsibility because you are making a commitment to the animals as well as the public. You will have to put the work in and spend 95 percent of your time with the animals, which is not glamorous all the time. If you have a love for animals and you want to learn more about different species, it is going to be an exciting opportunity for you.
Becoming an effective zookeeper takes a lot of work. Most institutions require fast learners because the visitors’ experience depends on the way the zookeeper helps them comprehend the traits of the animal.
If you have previous job experience, it can increase your chances of becoming a zookeeper. Some employers require the candidate to pass a background check for animal safety. You might be asked to lift a few pounds, bend or stoop since the job requires you to be on your feet almost all the time.
There are certain skills you will need to be good at your job. These include:
- Communication skills to clearly explain the information to the public
- Physical fitness
- Having a real interest in animals
- Good observation skills
- Ability to work independently as well as in a team
- Compassionate with animals
How much does it pay?
Your earnings depend on where you work and the size of the company you will be working for. Entry-level zookeepers earn around £13,000 to £16,000 per year.
You can also start out as an apprentice. This will be a good chance to learn more about zookeeping. Once your apprenticeship is complete, you can apply for the job of the zookeeper.