If you love working with animals and want to make a career in pet care then one of the best possible jobs with animals for you to consider is becoming a zookeeper! A zookeeper gets to work around a wide variety of animals from around the globe on a daily basis, and it's a job that presents new and exciting challenges on a daily basis!
A zookeeper too has the potential to travel around the world and work with animals from different types of zoos so the rewards are definitely there! And who knows? One day you could own and run your very own zoo! But as with any career, becoming a zookeeper isn't as simple as you would think, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication from yourself in order to be achieved.
There are a few steps that need to be followed in order to successfully gain the proper qualifications and work experience in animal care and then obviously there are further steps before you can be considered for the role of a zookeeper. Below we will try and assist you in your dream of becoming a zookeeper and provide you with the advice and tips needed for you to follow the correct steps and processes.
First Step: Get as much experience as you can working with animals! These don't have to be wild animals from distant countries. You can be a pet sitter, such as looking after dogs while dog sitting or dog walking. You can even nurse a pet Birman cat or Siberian cat. Many volunteers travel to Australia on an Australian visa, stay for free as house sitters, and work with pets in the house! And it doesn't matter if this is paid pet job or unpaid work voluntary work, it all goes on to your resume and looks great when it eventually comes to getting a proper zookeeper job.
You can start by contacting your local animal shelter or RSPCA in order to find out what services they offer for volunteers and what other places they would recommend if they can't help out. Contact other places such as your local vet, your local animal grooming centre or even your local national park to find out if they have anything available. The worst they can say is no, and they may then be able to direct you to the right people who will say yes. Just remember how good different types of animal experience will look on your CV so keep up the persistence if you wish to be successful!
Second Step: Complete the relevant training courses to help you become properly qualified. These usually include a Certificate II in animal studies or a Certificate III in captive animals. There are TAFE Australia courses available at various universities. Depending on where you live, you may need to travel to specific areas who offer these courses. At Sydney in Australia you may check various courses with internship programs on zoo keeping.
They are also run through accredited zoos across Australia so if you are unsure where to start then maybe contact either your local zoo or a zoo you wish to work at if you would like to know more. Obviously there aren't zoos in every part of the country so if you don't have a zoo in your city or town then you obviously should be prepared to travel for your career. You should also be confident and articulate in your public speaking as you will find a large number of zookeepers will start off as a tour guide of some sort and will have to deal with zoo patrons on a daily basis. Whether you have experience in this or not, you can always take public speaking courses to help further your career path.
Third Step: Volunteer at a zoo to get experience! Usually you will find most zoos are often in need of all sorts of volunteers, so contact your local zoo or zoo you wish to work at and find out what volunteer services they provide and how you can go about becoming a volunteer. A simple phone call, email or in person visit could easily change your life and put you on the path you have been dreaming about! Look for internship while taking up course. Once you then have that experience behind you, you can always keep checking with the staff as to when a paid position is available or always take your resumes to other zoos and see what they say. There are pet jobs available in many animal shelters and mini zoos. It's a long path, but if you want it bad enough you can achieve it!
Hopefully we have provided you with enough advice to put you on the path to becoming a zookeeper! Never be afraid to ask questions and enquire about it further, and we wish you the best of luck in following your dreams!