ACTE Techniques February 2012 : Page 58

C AREER C UR VE Zookeeper in animal hospitals or who concentrate on a specific group of animals such as exotic birds, great apes, elephants or reptiles. educational requirements Most zoos require some education in animal science or some form of previ -ous experience with animals, and many require zookeepers to have a bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology, psychology or animal science. earnings According to the U.S. Department of La -bor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries in the field are not high, with non-farm animal caretakers earning around $20,000 annually. Of course, higher salaries come with more education and by moving into management positions. How-ever, as AAZK notes, “We do this job because we love it, not for the money. For us, knowing that we are saving an animal species or maybe just making an animal feel as at home as possible, is enough.” Job Outlook The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that there will be faster than average employ -ment growth in the field of animal care and service, but keen competition is ex -pected for jobs as zookeepers and marine mammal trainers. PHOTO COURTESy OF MOORPARK COLLEGE Moorpark College is home to America’s Teaching Zoo, as well as the Exotic Animal Training and Management program. Explore More ZOOkEEpERS ARE SERVICE WORkERS WHO CARE FOR ExOtIC ANIMALS that are captive The Workplace Zookeepers work in public and private zo -ological parks and aquariums. According to the American Association of Zookeep -ers (AAZK), zookeepers care for a diverse collection of animals, from mammals and birds to reptiles and amphibians to fish and invertebrates. Some keepers become highly specialized, such as those who work For more information about the career of zookeeper and the education and training it requires, here are some places to turn. American Association of Zookeepers http://aazk.org Association of Zoos and Aquariums www.aza.org International Congress of Zookeepers www.iczoo.org for conservation, research or education. Duties include preparing their diets, cleaning their enclosures, and monitoring their health and safety. Zookeepers may also help educate the public by answering questions zoo visitors may have. 58 Techniques Februar y 2012 www.acteonline.org

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