Becoming a Zoo Vet Tech

Working as a Zoo Veterinary Technician
Do you love working with animals? Does the idea of caring for the exotic animals at zoos interest you? If so, a career as a zoo veterinary technician could be for you. These professionals design treatment plans for sick animals, assist with diagnoses and participate in surgical procedures. Continue reading to learn about the academic requirements and professional certifications required for zoo veterinary technicians.

Zoo Vet Tech Salary

Vet techs at the zoo can expect to earn $40,000/year depending on experience and geographical location.

Zoo Vet Tech Career Requirements
All veterinary technicians must complete a degree program in veterinary technology or for veterinary technicians, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which usually take 2-4 years of study. Each state has different certification and license requirements for veterinary technicians and many have different levels of qualifications. However, certification and license is required to work as a veterinary technician.

What Do Zoo Technicians Do?
Zoo technicians monitor the health of the various animals at the zoo. They may collect feces and blood for testing and prepare breeding reports to monitor animals’ reproductive behaviors and their development. They also observe animals to make note of any changes in behavior, such as aggression, which could indicate a greater problem. Zoo veterinary technicians assess the animals’ nutrition and may prescribe food regiments.

In a medical capacity, zoo technicians are like nurses. they work with veterinarians to diagnose sick animals, administer medications and injections, restrain animals during medical procedures, crate them for procedures and help with surgery. Following an illness, veterinary technicians in zoos are responsible for making sure the animals heal correctly. In emergency situations, they may administer first aid or CPR.

Regular veterinary technicians have similar responsibilities, but they care for domestic animals. Instead of working with zookeepers, they need to calm “parents” of sick animals and help them provide better care to their pets.

Working at the zoo requires experience working with exotic animals. One of the best ways to get this is by working at a zoo or aquarium during the summer and by completing internships as a zoo vet technician. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has lists of job and internship opportunities available at zoos around the country, so you can get experience at a place near you. You can also talk to the school where you’re completing your degree program for additional information about training opportunities.