Is Animal Keeper A Good Career Path?

You might wish to work as an animal keeper if you enjoy spending time with animals from different cultures around the world. Educating visitors about the animals you are caring for is one of the responsibilities of animal keepers. This can be delivering talks or tours on the biology or behavior of animals, or it might entail educating visitors on how their interactions with these animals affect their well-being and health.

While some animal keepers can gain employment with only a high school diploma or GED, others pursue post-secondary education in natural science courses. Aspiring animal keepers should get experience dealing with animals in any capacity because observational and animal-handling skills are essential.

Jobs as an animal keeper are fulfilling for those who care about animals and desire to spread awareness of them. You should educate yourself as much as you can on animal behavior and care if you want to pursue a career as an animal keeper. This article is here to help you on knowing if animal keeping is a good career path. 

Who is an animal keeper?

An animal is a person who looks after zoo animals, aquariums, and animals in amusement parks that are held in a cage for conservation, education, and public display. They are in charge of the daily upkeep of the animals’ pens, including cleaning and feeding.

As an animal keeper, you will typically specialize in working with a specific species of animal or in a specific area of the zoo, such as with reptiles, apes, and birds. All in different shapes, sizes, and forms. As you get to know the animals in your care better, you’ll be able to give them the best chance to survive in captivity.

Is Animal keeper a good career path?

Animal keepers look after and maintain the animals in zoos, aquariums, wildlife refuges, and safari parks. For people who appreciate being near animals, animal keeping can be a good career path to choose. 

Since zoos hire workers from a wide range of backgrounds, there is no certain method to acquire a job in the industry. You can become an Animal keeper by obtaining a good education, gaining lots of experience, and working hard. With time and expertise, the majority of keepers advance to positions of more responsibility, managing larger herds of animals or entire regions. 

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The size of the zoo will determine how soon you can accomplish this. The positions of a senior keeper, head of a section, head keeper, and senior head keeper are all possible career paths. You could potentially soar to a managerial position inside the zoo or into research, education, or conservation. The function of the keeper and how zoos run will probably continue to change in the future.

Duties of an animal keeper

  • Observe animals and look for any signs of distress or ill health.
  • Keep comprehensive daily records of animals’ actions, eating habits, births, deaths, and other happenings.
  • Design, build, and maintain environments that are similar to natural habitats
  • Maintaining clean, sterile, and securely closed animal enclosures.
  • Feeding the animals 
  • Giving sick or injured animals veterinary treatment, including giving drugs and performing surgery as necessary.
  • Aiding human-animal interaction by petting animals or other exhibits.

How many Jobs are available in Animal keeping

1. Animal trainer

Animals are trained by animal trainers to do activities including riding, entertainment, obedience, or helping the disabled. They also assist animals in feeling more at ease with people. The highest animal trainer earner can make up to $57,170 per year.

2. Veterinarians

Veterinarians serve as medical professionals for animals. They frequently provide a lot of preventive treatment in addition to treating wounds and illnesses that are already present. Additionally, they keep tabs on an animal’s dietary patterns, do checks, establish diagnoses, and administer immunizations. The average salary for a Veterinarian in the US per year is $125812. 

3. Marine biologist

This profession may require you to travel and go scuba diving! Additionally, you could research both plants and animals. Although the median salary is $48,915, it can be substantially higher based on your background and experience.

4. Animal nutritionist 

To give nutritional recommendations to businesses or governmental organizations, animal nutritionists spend their time figuring out the dietary requirements of animals kept in captivity and researching animal behavior and economics. The salary for animal nutritionists is $62,920, according to the BLS. 

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5. Animal Scientist

Animal scientists use their knowledge of animal nutrition, genetics, growth, and development regardless of their position to assist maintain a secure and reliable food source. The typical yearly pay for animal biologists was $60,300.   

6. Animal technician

Medical testing is carried out by Animal technicians under the direction of a qualified veterinarian. They aid in the injury or sickness diagnosis of an animal. The average annual salary for animal technicians is above $47,000.

7. Animal specialist 

To better understand the biological and chemical mechanisms by which the animals develop, animal scientists research a wide range of domestic animal species and usually deal with livestock.

Additionally, they might have a stronger focus on research, working in zoological or particular veterinary sectors to protect the health and well-being of animals both in the wild and in captivity. The annual salary is $62,920. 

8. Veterinary Assistant

Veterinarians are assisted in caring for animals by veterinary assistants who work in clinics or animal hospitals. They are in charge of assisting veterinarians with everyday duties. Veterinarian assistants with the highest salaries make $36,690 annually.

9. Animal control worker

Animal control workers seek to ensure that animals are treated right, look into situations of abuse, and find animals that have been abandoned. Those in the top ten can earn more than $53,000 annually.

10. Animal Keeper Supervisor

An animal-keeping supervisor is a person who assigns animal keepers and trainees various jobs. He or she is in charge of assigning the job in the morning and checking its status in the afternoon. As an animal care supervisor, you have the option of working at a big facility where you’ll be in charge of a limited area or a smaller facility where you’ll be in charge of everything. The median annual salary is $68,644. 

The top 4 highest paying Industries for animal keepers in the United States. 

  1. Retail & Wholesale, with a median total salary of $41,060.
  1. Hotels & Travel Accommodation, with a median total salary of $38,612
  1. Media & Communication, with a median total salary of $38,260
  1.  Arts, Entertainment & Recreation with a median total salary of $36,628. 

Faqs about a career in animal keeping.

What is the average yearly salary of an animal keeper?

The average yearly salary for animal keepers in the United States is $33,617, or $16 per hour. The bottom 10% earn less than $22,000 annually, while the top 10% earn over $49,000 annually.

Who do animal keepers work with?

Animal keepers and veterinarians work together to ensure the well-being of animals. They also work with animal biologists and animal trainers.

What are the necessary skills to be an animal keeper?

You need a particular skill set, experience working with animals, and other qualifications that potential employers value to become a zookeeper. Necessary skills include: 

  • Empathy
  • Effective Communication 
  • Animal care
  • Time management 
  • Organization 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Technological skills
  • Customer service 

What qualifications do I need to become an animal keeper?

Make sure you meet the minimum standards for physical fitness needed to work as an Animal keeper. A fitness test will be required of you. This test may entail the beep test, push-ups, planks, grip strength, and lower back strength, among other things.

High school

While in high school, enroll in as many science courses as you can. It will be beneficial to have a broad science background that includes courses in biology, ecology, chemistry, physics, and botany in addition to mathematics and computer science.

Post-secondary education: 

The majority of entry-level jobs demand at least an associate’s degree. Many zookeepers complete four years of college. Animal management is becoming a very specialized and professional field. Today’s animal keepers are usually trained. The best qualifications include degrees in zoology, animal science, biology, marine biology, conservation biology, wildlife management, and animal behavior. Writing, public speaking, computer science, teaching, and even other languages are among the electives that are extremely crucial. Interdisciplinary training can occasionally be beneficial for applicants.

How long does it take to become an animal keeper?

A life science bachelor’s degree can be earned in four years, and an associate’s degree can be earned in at least one year. After that, you must have at least a year of animal-keeping experience so that you can obtain the necessary certificates and begin looking for jobs. 

What exactly do animal keepers do? 

All kinds of animals are cared for by animal keepers. They are in charge of the welfare, safety, and health of animals. Additionally, they work in aquariums, safari parks, and occasionally even in the wild. An animal keeper would be responsible for taking care of everything, including tigers, giraffes, birds, and fish. Zookeepers typically specialize in one section of the zoo or one particular species of animal.


Zookeepers need to be physically fit to handle animals. If you wish to pursue this career, you should be committed to physical fitness and exercise. Consider becoming a member of the International Society of Zoological Sciences or

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