How To Become A Zookeeper In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become a zookeeper in Australia and the zookeeper's salary.


Are you an animal lover who enjoys being around animals? Are you looking for a career that lets you pursue this passion while earning good money? If yes, there is no other better job than becoming a Zookeeper.


A zookeeper provides high-quality animal care, assists with breeding programs, conducts animal training, and manages all species.


However, the process of becoming a Zookeeper may be more complicated than you could think. So, if you want to become a zookeeper in Australia, read this guide below and kick-start your career.


In this blog, you will learn how to become a zookeeper in Australia, how much salary they get paid, what courses they study, degree requirements, what they do daily, and more.



1. What Does a Zookeeper Do?


Zookeepers look after the animals in zoos. They are responsible for various tasks, such as monitoring the health of animals and keeping an eye out for indicators of illness. They must ensure that the animals are adequately fed on time and given the necessary medications. 


Physical well-being is vital, but so is an animal's mental well-being. Zookeepers ensure that animals are physically and mentally well while keeping the animals' habitats clean and safe.



2. Responsibilities of Zookeeper


A zookeeper has to perform various duties. If you want to become a zookeeper in Australia, the following are the responsibilities you have to perform.


  • Prepares, cleans, disinfects, and keeps cages and enclosures in good condition.

  • Provide food, fill water troughs, and feed animals tailored to specific requirements.

  • Maintains animal health records, treats minor injuries and notifies veterinarians of significant conditions.

  • Exercises and plays with animals, answer visitor queries and moves animals between enclosures.

  • Manage insect pests, spray insecticides on animals, and bathe them.

  • Providing products to enrich the environments of animals and prevent boredom.

  • Answering questions and delivering speeches and demonstrations to zoo visitors to educate them.



3. Skills Required To Be a Zookeeper In Australia


Being a Zookeeper requires more than just love for animals. Zookeepers must be able to use their intuition and be meticulous and observant. They should communicate effectively with coworkers and the general public.


  • Understanding the Behavior of Animals

  • Understanding of animal handling and care techniques

  • Experience with typical grooming practices, including ear cleaning and nail clipping.

  • Ability to meet the job's physical requirements, such as carrying large objects, bending, and kneeling.

  • Experience giving primary health care and medical treatments for animals, such as injections.

  • An ability to provide public educational lectures.

  • Experience in animal conservation



4. Steps To Become a Zookeeper in Australia


A career as a zookeeper in Australia appeals to those passionate about wildlife preservation and animal care. However, the application process for this job may be complex and competitive. 


There are roughly 150 zookeepers at major zoos across Australia, making it a challenging career to enter.



Step 1: Qualify For a Physical Fitness Test


To become a zookeeper, a candidate must be physically fit as they have to perform various tasks requiring physical strength. 


Therefore, one has to qualify for a physical fitness test which includes the grip strength, beep test, planks, push-ups, and lower back strength.



Step 2: Obtain a Certificate


In Australia, there are no formal qualifications for becoming a zookeeper. However, there is excellent competition for an entry-level zookeeper job. As a result, you will have a more incredible opportunity if you have a related qualification and experience working in a zoo or captive animal habitat. 


Here are some suggested courses that may help:




Step 3: Join a Professional Group


Joining professional development organisations such as the International Society of Zoological Sciences can also help you take a step forward. You can look for professional groups in your area that you can join.



Step 4: Volunteer at a Zoo in Your Area


Why not volunteer if you want to obtain some practical experience to supplement your academic studies? Zoos are busy places, so you're likely to be welcomed with open arms.



5. Importance of Certificate III in Captive Animals


What if you could learn from some of Australia's most experienced zookeepers? Anyone aspiring to work in a zoo or nature park should take Certificate III in Captive Animals. 


During these nine months of on-the-job training, you will learn how to rescue animals, administer first aid, rehabilitate local species, care for baby animals, and assist with feeding and playtime.


Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) offer this nationally recognised course. The Australian Skills Quality Authority tightly regulates RTOs (ASQA). This ensures that you will study for a high-quality, nationally recognised certification.


For more details on Certificate III in Captive Animals, visit the TAFE website.



6. Different Zookeeper Jobs in Australia


You may look for a zoo job via the official Australia zoo website. You can start your application online on the Australia Zoo website. Fill out the form, pick whether or not you are a citizen, select the job title you desire and proceed.


  • Veterinarian

  • Veterinary Technician

  • Animal Curator

  • General Curator

  • Conservation Biologist/Zoologist

  • Keeper/Aquarist

  • Registrar

  • Zoo director or assistant director

  • Financial director


Other jobs available in the Australian zoo are marketing director, operation director, public relations, curator of horticulture, membership director, and a lot more.


To learn more about vacancies in the Australian zoo, visit the website.



7. Different Qualifications To Become a Zookeeper in Australia


Every state in Australia has set specific criteria to become a zookeeper. The introductory zookeeper course is Certificate III in Captive Animals. Besides this, the following are the state-wide qualifications you need to become a zookeeper.



Zookeeper in New South Wales (NSW)


To become a zookeeper in NSW, you must pursue the Zoos and Wildlife NSW course and Certificate III in Captive Animals. This qualification reflects the knowledge and skills needed to undertake various animal care functions. 


Activities include social group management, individual animal welfare, and large-scale facilities. The job roles you can get with this qualification are:


  • Native Wildlife carer

  • Animal Technical officer

  • Animal carer/ Zookeeper

  • Aquarist

  • Wildlife rehabilitator


For more details, visit the website.



Zookeeper in Western Australia (WA)


In Perth, Zookeepers work eight hours per day. They work in rotation shifts. Workers receive the payments under the General Agreement and Award of Zoo. 


All keepers have access to a clear and defined professional path that progresses through many levels: Trainee, Keeper, Senior Keeper, Supervisor, Curator, and Director.


Perth Zoo promotes 'life-long learning to provide opportunities for professional growth. The candidate should have studied human biology or biology in Years 11 and 12 along with Certificate III in Captive Animals


Besides this, other courses that make you an ideal candidate to become a zookeeper in Perth are:


  • Animal Science or zoology at the University of Western Australia

  • Environmental Management at Edith Cowan University

  • Biology at Curtin University

  • Veterinarian Studies or Conservative Biology at Murdoch University.

  • Environmental biology and Ecology at Notre Dame University


For more details, you can visit the website.



Zookeeper in Victoria (VIC)


To become a zookeeper in Victoria, it is vital to have Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care. This course helps a candidate step forward to become a zookeeper in Melbourne, Victoria. 


With a combination of regular theory courses and practical practice, this course will expand students understanding of animal husbandry. Besides this, Bachelor's degrees in ScienceZoologyBiologyVeterinary Nursing, or a related field can be beneficial. 


For more details, you can visit here.



Zookeeper in Queensland (QLD)


The role of a zookeeper in Queensland is to provide water and food on time and monitor animals' health. Besides this, a zookeeper in Queensland is responsible for cleaning and maintaining animal cages and watching wildlife and aquaria. Also, they are responsible for informing and educating visitors about animals. 


If you want to become a zookeeper in Queensland, a level of skill with experience and qualification is needed.


You can become a zookeeper in Queensland with the following courses: Certificate IV in Animal Facility Management, Certificate IV in Captive Animals, and Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care.


For more details, visit the official website.



8. How Much Does a Zookeeper Get Paid in Australia?


ZooKeeper salaries in Australia range from 33,500 AUD (lowest income) to 110,000 AUD (highest compensation) (maximum salary). However, the compensation largely depends on the location and the title.



Zookeeper Salary in New South Wales (NSW)


An entry-level Zookeeper with 1-4 years of experience makes an average total remuneration (tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of AU$50,000. A mid-career Zookeeper with 5-9 years of experience earns an average salary of AU$45,500.



Zookeeper Salary in Western Australia (WA)


According to Payscale, the zookeeper's salary in Perth is AU$75,000. Whereas according to Indeed, Perth Zookeepers get AU$ 31.59 per hour. However, it depends on the title and the zoo where you are working.



Zookeeper Salary in Victoria (VIC)


According to Salary Expert, In Melbourne, Australia, the average annual gross income is AU$ 56,397.59, with an hourly rate of AU$ 26.67. This is similar to the average zookeeper's income in Australia. They also receive a 772 AUD bonus on average. 


The average income for an entry-level zookeeper (1-3 years of experience) is AU 56,397. On the other hand, a senior-level zookeeper (8+ years of experience) makes an average income of AU$ 60,126.



Zookeeper Salary in Queensland (QLD)


As per Payscale, the average salary of a zookeeper in Queensland is AU$ 21.75 per hour and AUD $74,218 per year.



9. How to Become A Zoo Vet in Australia?


Veterinarians (Vets) analyse, manage, and treat animal diseases and other disorders. Vets typically specialise in a particular field, such as small animals, horses, or cattle, and educate public members on best practices in food, cleanliness, care, and breeding to encourage better health in their pets and livestock.


To become a registered Vet in Australia, a candidate has to study Veterinary for 6-7 years. Besides this, you must complete a Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree program at an approved university, followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Science degree. 


After graduation, you must register with the veterinarian board of the state(s) you intend to practice.


  • Complete a Bachelor's degree program in Veterinary Science at a recognised university. 

  • Complete a Doctor of Veterinary Science program at an authorised university.

  • After graduation, you must register with the veterinary board of the state(s) in which you desire to practice.



10. How Much Does A Zoo Vet Make in Australia?


The average pay of a Zoo vet in Australia is AUD 51 per hour and AUD 106,665 a year. However, the salary range is between AUD 75,647 and AUD 132,383.


A career in veterinary science is both exciting and rewarding. The entrance standards for veterinary school are rigorous, and the course is frequently demanding. Still, this life-long profession's benefits make veterinary science a worthwhile job.



11. Conclusion


In Australia, Zookeeper positions are in great demand. They work 8 hours each day and 40 hours per week on their jobs. 


However, you will undoubtedly require a degree to become a zookeeper in Australia. Even if you have a good education, you will need some experience in the field. 


You must be prepared, enthusiastic, and eager to work long hours. Zookeepers are often employed full-time to carry out their tasks and obligations.


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