Are you an animal lover who enjoys being around them? If so, there is no better career than that of a zookeeper. A zookeeper is responsible for providing high-quality animal care, assisting with breeding programs, training animals, and managing all species at the zoo. Becoming a zookeeper, however, may be more difficult than you think.
If you want to work as a zookeeper in Australia, here is all the information you need to know about the career pathway.
Steps to becoming a zookeeper in Australia
A career as a zookeeper in Australia is appealing to those passionate about wildlife preservation and animal care. However, the application process for this job may be hard and competitive. Here are the steps you need to take to become a zookeeper in Australia.
Step 1: Get experience working with animals
Whether it is paid or unpaid experience, this is one of the most important prerequisites to becoming a zookeeper. Work or volunteer at a veterinary surgery, wildlife park, RSPCA, animal welfare organisation, dog training, wildlife rescue agency, kennel, animal breeder or animal groomer. This will give you an idea of the work that is involved in caring for animals and also demonstrate to future employers your dedication and commitment to the job.
Step 2: Complete animal studies courses
Complete a Certificate III in Animal Studies and a Certificate III in Captive Animals through a Registered Training Organisation. These are the entry requirements for the majority of Australia’s zoos and wildlife parks. If you want to work with a specific animal, you may need to do extra study or training. A large part of a zoo keeper’s responsibilities include presenting information to visitors, so some training in public speaking or presentation skills would be beneficial.
Step 3: Get some experience in a zoo
Zoos will often have a volunteer keeper program that enables people to gain real hands-on keeping experience. These programs will give you an insight into what the day-to-day duties of a keeper involve. If you are interested in working with a specific animal, it would be beneficial to get experience working with that animal before applying for positions. For example, if you are interested in working with tigers, try volunteering at a sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates tigers.
Step 4: Complete a relevant tertiary qualification
While a tertiary qualification is not always essential, it will give you a significant advantage when applying for positions. Relevant qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in zoology, animal science or wildlife biology. Other relevant qualifications include a diploma in animal management or wildlife conservation.
Zookeeper jobs are in high demand in Australia, so competition for jobs can be fierce. A qualification will give you an advantage over other applicants and make you more appealing to potential employers and even if you have a good education, you will need some work experience. You must be prepared, enthusiastic and eager to work long hours.
Pet Certified Australia is passionate about pets and the people who care for them. Our mission is to educate, train and develop the modern workforce in the pet industry. Training and education is a journey and a requirement for jobs with animals, contact our team today for more information on our courses and how we can best assist you on your journey towards your passion.