The Professional Zookeeper Program is meticulously crafted to cultivate a comprehensive skill set in animal and wildlife health and welfare. Our program not only focuses on developing technical expertise but also places a strong emphasis on fostering teamwork and building meaningful relationships, which are essential for thriving in a professional animal care environment.

In addition to honing animal care skills, our program delves into the inner workings of a zoological facility, equipping students with a deep understanding of its backbone and front side. By comprehending the intricate organization and dynamics of a zoological facility, our students gain a holistic perspective that is crucial to their success in the field.

Through a well-rounded curriculum and hands-on experiences, our Professional Zookeeper Program prepares aspiring professionals to excel in the dynamic world of animal care. With a focus on animal welfare, teamwork, and facility organization, we provide our students with the knowledge and skills needed to make a meaningful impact in the lives of animals and contribute to the broader field of wildlife conservation.

Program Highlights

Part One of the program, Introduction to Zookeeping & Facility Operations is the all-inclusive beginning to understanding people/animal relationships and the role of public relations and teamwork in professional animal care.

The Introduction to Zookeeping & Facility Operations course consists of 24 clock hour weeks at 30 hours per week. A minimum of 720 hours of practical internship training is required to complete the Introduction to Zookeeping & Facility Operations course.

The Introduction to Zookeeping & Facility Operations course provides students with practical skills and knowledge in animal husbandry and management through a combination of virtual and hands-on internship training. Our Wildlife Center serves as a living laboratory to illustrate the techniques learned in class. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of animal care techniques.

The Introduction to Zookeeping & Facility Operations training encompasses a wide range of skills and knowledge that are essential to the care and management of zoo animals. These include safety and emergency protocols, exhibit and holding area maintenance, animal nutrition and diet preparation, record-keeping, behavior observation, animal enrichment, and an introduction to lead zoo keeping. We also cover related government regulations to ensure compliance and best practices.

In addition, the Facility Operations training covers basic zoo support and operations, public relations, fundraising, public education, exhibit and grounds maintenance, construction, and horticulture. All training takes place on the Wildlife Center grounds, providing students with hands-on experience and practical skills that are essential for success in the field of zoological care and management.

The course subjects are taught through a combination of virtual and practical internship training throughout the program. The order in which the studies occur may vary slightly as current emphasis fluctuates to meet the educational needs of the students and to meet the current standards of the animal care industry, including rules and regulations. Successful completion of all course subjects is required for advancement.