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What Highschool and College classes should I take to become a zookeeper?

I would like to be a zookeeper, but I don't know which classes to take during high school.

Thank you for your time. #zookeeper #high-school-classes

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John’s Answer

Elyse although there are no formal education requirements, many zookeepers are expected to have earned a college degree in a relevant field. Bachelor's degree programs in zoology, biology, animal science and marine biology provide potential zookeepers with the knowledge and skills to work with animals. In these programs, students are taught a range of subjects including animal behavior, nutrition, genetics, microbiology, reproduction and physiology. Much of a zookeeper's job involves monitoring the animals and making sure they do not become sick or injured. They keep notes on their eating habits, watch for odd behavior, and provide veterinarians with relevant information about their health.

Knowledge and experience in animal handling is crucial. Aspiring zookeepers usually start out volunteering or participating in an unpaid internship. After a time, volunteering and/or interning you'll gain more experience working with different animals and earn positive references from supervisors. This will help in acquiring a paid internship. Paid internships are commonly available to those still in college and recent graduates, and they're sometimes a prerequisite for hire at a zoo. Often, zoos looking for a new zookeeper will give first priority to those who have interned there. The zoos that do this know first-hand that their interns work hard, understand how the zoo is run, and are familiar with the zoo animals.

Hope this was helpful Elyse

John recommends the following next steps:

The sooner you begin acquiring experience with animals the better. You should start when you're in high school or during college. The advantage of doing this type of work during college is that some zoos have internship programs developed specifically for college students. These programs support students in getting experience, college credit, and sometimes even a good paycheck.
Experience in animal handling is important in the field of zookeeping. If not enrolled in a program that offers courses in animal handling or training, you can get this experience by volunteering or interning at a local humane society, wildlife rehabilitation center, or zoo. An internship will not generally substitute for a college degree, but some programs will give college course credits for internships.
Joining a professional organization, like the American Association of Zookeepers, provides career resources and opportunities to network with other professionals in the field. Zookeepers can attend conferences and workshops to stay up-to-date on current topics and trends in the industry, which may also provide new techniques and skills that can be applied on the job.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! There are a few places I could volunteer, but the nearest zoo is 6 hours away. Oh well. I'll find other places to volunteer. Thank you so much again! Elyse
Thank you comment icon If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. If you schedule it, it’s real Elyse. John Frick
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Alma’s Answer

Hi Elyse,

You should take animal or life science courses. The most important thing will be getting experience working with animals. Look for volunteer or work opportunities at a zoo, sanctuary, or shelter. Also some high schools participate in FFA (Future Farmers of America) where students raise animals.

Hope this helps!
Alma
Thank you comment icon Thank you! This really helps me. There are a few courses I could take at my high school. Thank you so much for your time! Elyse
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