Becoming a Zoo Curator

Zoo Curators oversee the management aspects related to animals and staff members of a zoo. They are involved in the day-to-day decisions involving animal husbandry, diets, veterinary care, quarantine procedures, enrichment activities, animal transportation etc. Their key responsibilities include acquiring new animals for the organization, supervising breeding activities, developing research projects, managing records, ensuring that the facility meets all federal and regional regulatory requirements, educating the public, keeping the visitors and staff members safe while they are on the premises so on and so forth. In addition, they supervise all zoo employees including veterinarians, keepers, educators, support staff, and volunteers. They are also involved with managing the hiring, training, and scheduling of zoo employees. In some cases, they perform direct animal care activities as part of their assigned duties.

Zoo Curators may specialize in a particular type of animals, such as reptiles. They may also specialize in conservation, research, making exhibits or developing educational programs.

Work Environment

Zoo Curators can be employed at zoos, aquariums, animal parks, conservation centers, environmental research facilities or any other animal related organization. Most of these professionals work full time. They may be “on call” to deal with emergencies or staffing issues as they arise.

Educational Requirement

To become a Zoo Curator, the aspiring candidates need to hold at least a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a wildlife biology, zoology or related field. Managerial and business training is also desirable. A master’s degree or a Ph.D. in related field is certainly an advantage for batter job prospects in this field. The course work includes animal behavior, environment, anatomy, management etc.

The candidates can also pursue an internship working in a supervisory role, preferably with a zoo or any animal related organization, which will bring them more experience.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities for Zoo Curators may rise 16 percent from 2014 to 2024. The average annual salary of a Zoo Curator was $51,280 in 2014.