As with all animal wildlife careers, it is best to continually expand your knowledge and understanding about animals and the habitats in which they live. Study natural sciences such as biology, zoology, and ecology and participate in programs offered by local nature centers, museums, and zoos.
Due to the volume of requests, Zoo Boise does not offer interview or shadow options to students at this time.
Zoo Boise is run by three separate organizations.
To operate a zoo and fulfill its conservation mission, zoos require many types of jobs and employ people from a variety of different backgrounds, talents, skills, experiences, and education.
More than 350,000 guests come through Zoo Boise’s gates each year. We depend on our dedicated volunteers to provide a fun, educational, and conservation-driven experience for each and every person that comes to Zoo Boise.
Zookeeper Career Frequently Asked Questions
What does a zookeeper do?
Zookeepers do much more than “scoop poop” and feed animals! They also conduct animal observations, keep detailed animal care records, create and provide enrichment to the animals, manage animal care volunteers, conduct educational presentations, and participate in wildlife conservation projects.
If I volunteer, will I eventually be hired at Zoo Boise?
While some Zoo Boise employees start as Zoo Boise volunteers, the majority of the employees have been hired because of the diversity of experiences and knowledge that they have gained from organizations similar to and other than Zoo Boise.
How do I become a zookeeper?
Zookeeper jobs can be a challenge to obtain and are very competitive. Academic knowledge combined with animal care experience is essential for anyone seeking a career in zookeeping. For most zoos, paid full-time zookeeper positions will require:
- At least an Associate’s degree in animal science, biology, zoology, wildlife resources, wildlife conservation, or related field of study.
- Experience in animal care through volunteering or internships. Volunteering at places such as zoos and aquariums, wildlife refuges, nature centers, animal shelters, and animal boarding facilities will provide opportunities for animal care experience.
- Experience in animal care as a paid seasonal/part-time zookeeper or animal care-taker.
- Willingness to relocate, sometimes long distances. To gain the necessary animal care experience, it is advantageous to take job or internship opportunities as they become available, regardless of how far or how close they are to your place of residence.
- Public relations, customer service, or public speaking skills. Zoos are great places for guests to learn about animals and participate in wildlife conservation. Keepers play an essential role in guest education by providing both formal and information presentations to zoo guests, so excellent communication skills are very beneficial to a zookeeper.
On the path to a zoo or wildlife career? Hands-on experience is essential to building the necessary skills and knowledge required to become a zoo or wildlife professional. One way to gain experience and explore zoo career options is through the ZooTeen Program, open to students ages 13 – 17. For more information, visit our ZooTeen Program page.