A Zoo Keeper looks after animals in a Zoo or Safari Park. Responsibilities will include feeding, grooming, cleaning out enclosures or cages, making sure the animals are fit, healthy and disease free. They will also give talks and presentations to members of the public, observe and keep records of the animals, liaise with the vet if any of the animals are unwell.
You'll usually need a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths and science.
Some zoos may ask for A levels or an equivalent qualification in animal care or animal science. Others may ask for a higher level qualification like a foundation degree or degree.
You'll need experience of working with animals. You could volunteer in a zoo or safari park. Find your nearest one at British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).
Some zoos run unpaid work placements or internships. You could also get experience with animals at a farm, kennels or riding stables.
You may be able to work your way up through an apprenticeship.
You may need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Career Path and Progression
In larger zoos, you could progress from keeper to team leader or head keeper. With experience and a degree, you could become a curator.
You could also move into education or conservation research.
Related careers you may be interested in:
- Animal care worker
- Animal technician
- Veterinary nurse
National Government Policy states that all students should have achieved at least a Grade 4 or C Grade in English & Maths at GCSE. Achieving this minimum grade in these subjects will increase the opportunities open to you, support your future career development and prospects.
Students who do not meet this standard will be supported to continue to study English and Maths through full-time education or an Apprenticeship.
You will need:
- a genuine interest in animals and their welfare
- an interest in conservation
- to be fit and healthy
- to be prepared to work long hours
- to be able to give talks and presentations to members of the public.
£12,000 to £25,000