How to get into Zoo Keeping
The educational requirements for an entry level zoo keeper vary and there are specialist courses on Animal Management and Zoology available at colleges and universities. The BBC has a good website with links to available courses.
Competition for zoo keeping jobs is fierce and although having good qualifications is a valuable asset, practical animal care experience will put you ahead of the pack. Doing work experience or regular volunteering at your local zoo is an excellent way to get your face known. However, working with domestic animals or native wildlife is also great preparation for zoo work; sanctuaries, stables, kennels or catteries, for example. Most importantly, if you get the chance to get some experience, do it well, work hard, be enthusiastic and amenable.
Zoo keeping is a demanding job requiring dedication, commitment and patience. Keepers must be prepared to work weekends and public holidays (even Christmas Day). Caring for animals is not a 9-5 occupation; keepers frequently end up working unpaid overtime and need to be flexible about their days off. They must be reliable people who are willing to learn and improve their performance in a co-operative setting.