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Employment Opportunities

General Zoo Positions Guide

With more than 110 million people visiting zoos annually, employees have the opportunity to educate the public about the critical need for the conservation of wildlife and wild lands. This responsibility assures an interesting and rewarding career, but the profession requires more than a commitment to conservation – it requires hard work.

Zoo employment is not always glamorous. Much of the work requires physical strength, as well as the ability to make detailed observations and keep information up-to-date. It takes a special kind of dedication to provide care to captive animals that require attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week, come snow, rain or shine.

The rewards for such efforts are great. Zoo employees share in the knowledge that they are providing the best care for the creatures in their facility, as well as developing a forum for others to learn how they too can participate in the conservation of our planet’s natural resources.

The conservation and scientific programs in zoos have become highly technical and specialized. Although practical experience with animals may sometimes be substituted for academic training, most entry-level keeper positions now require a four-year college degree or two-year degree from a specialized zoo related school. Training in animal science, zoology, marine biology, conservation biology, wildlife management and animal behavior is preferred. Students wishing to pursue animal-related careers are encouraged to carefully review the curriculum of the schools they wish to attend, as some programs focus more on zoological application than others.

Students who are interested in the business side of zoo operations should concentrate on skills related to a particular area of expertise.

Salaries for zoo employees vary depending on the size, funding and location of the institution. Non-profit institutions, many times, base salary on experience, individual performance, work ethic and value to the institution.

Positions Available at Cougar Mountain Zoo

The Cougar Mountain Zoo is seeking applicants who are professional in attitude and appearance, energetic, enthusiastic, outgoing, team orientated, hard working, self-motivated, able to multi-task, follow direction, communicate with visitors and love working with animals.

Applicants, regardless of experience, must come to terms with the demands of a zoo position and the risks involved in working with zoo animals.

Click here for a list of zoo positions

How to Apply

We're sorry that, due to the number of responses we receive, we are unable to personally contact every applicant or take inquiries about the status of your application. 

Email or send resume with cover letter with professional references to Robyn@cougarmountainzoo.org, Cougar Mountain Zoo, ATTN: Robyn Barfoot, 19525 SE 54th Street, Issaquah, WA 98027. Fax 425.392.1076

  © Copyright 2014 Zoological Society of Washington and Cougar Mountain Zoo