Plan your visit

Working with animals can be a very rewarding career, and there are many different types of employment in this area. However, competition for places is fierce, and it is important to consider a number of facts before pursuing a career with animals.

Because there are such a wide variety of animal-related jobs available, it is a good idea first of all to decide which type of work is most suited to you and what areas you are most interested in.

What species of animals are you particularly interested in? Do you wish to work hands-on with animals, study them, or teach people about them? Or are you more interested in conservation issues, i.e. conserving species of animals and plants and their environments?

Working directly with animals is often very routine work and can be physically demanding, often hands-on, dirty and smelly, yet very rewarding. Animals do not have a 9am-5pm day! This type of work is most likely to involve working weekends and bank holidays.

It is also important when working with animals that you have good communication and customer care skills. This type of work often involves a great deal of interaction with the public, owners, visitors and other professionals.
As with most jobs, the greater the experience and qualifications you have, the greater the opportunities available to you. You will stand a much better chance of succeeding in pursuing a career with animals if you have had some practical experience with animals and have attained some relevant qualifications.

If you would like to read more about careers in zoos, visit the Jobs & Careers page of the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA).

Work Experience

To work with animals at Edinburgh Zoo you must be over 18.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), please visit our volunteering page. Please note, volunteers do not work directly with animals.

If you are interested in seeing the latest vacancies at RZSS please visit our vacancies page.

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