A zookeeper is a person who has the skill and experience to take care of animals in captivity from small to large, including everything from Amazonian frogs to Bengal tigers and African elephants. Depending on the venue where they work, a keeper might be assigned to work with a grouping of animals like reptiles or mammals, or they could be tasked to work with a certain segment of animals, such as large cats or primates. The work will include things like preparing balanced mealtimes for the animals, as well as bathing, exercising, and taking care of the habitats that the animals live in.
Zookeeper Salary Influencers
While there are some slight variations in the information on zookeeper salaries through Payscale.com and Indeed.com, the factors surrounding the job and the outlook are the same on a broad scope of the zookeeping profession.
Zookeepers usually work in public zoos. Experience and education usually play a larger role in determining a zookeeper salary, rather than industry. Because there are many different academic qualifications needed, zookeeping may not be all that high-paying when compared to zoologists, veterinarians, and curators. Any zookeeper that has just a bit of education and experience will sometimes start just above minimum wage. While looking at online salary surveys, research shows that a zookeeper will expect to make around $14 an hour or roughly $28,000 a year.
2. Geographical Area
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Zookeeper Salary In The United States
The zookeeper salary within the United States averages $36,097 for an hourly rate of $17. When it comes to bonuses, the average is around $646. At the senior level, salary is about $47,519. This number is based upon various survey data that is taken from a collection of anonymous employees and employers across the United States.
Zookeeper Salary In Canada
The zookeeper salary within Canada averages C$38,676 for an hourly rate of C$19. When it comes to bonuses, the average is around C$692. At the senior level, salary is about C$50,914. This number is based upon various survey data that is taken from a collection of anonymous employees and employers across Canada.
Zookeeper Salary In The United Kingdom
The zookeeper salary within the United Kingdom averages £22,308 for an hourly rate of $11. When it comes to bonuses, the average is around £399. At the senior level, salary is about £29,367. This number is based upon various survey data that is taken from a collection of anonymous employees and employers across the United Kingdom.
Zookeeper Salary In Australia
The zookeeper salary within Australia averages AU$65,351 for an hourly rate of AU$31. When it comes to bonuses, the average is around $1,170. At the senior level, salary is about AU$86,169. This number is based upon various survey data that is taken from a collection of anonymous employees and employers across Australia.
Zookeeper Salary In Switzerland
The zookeeper salary within Switzerland averages CHF58,003 for an hourly rate of CHF28. When it comes to bonuses, the average is around CHF1,038. At the senior level, salary is about CHF76,144. This number is based upon various survey data that is taken from a collection of anonymous employees and employers across Switzerland.
Zookeeper Salary In Norway
The zookeeper salary within Norway averages NOK290,145 for an hourly rate of NOK139. When it comes to bonuses, the average is around NOK5,194. At the senior level, salary is about NOK381,951. This number is based upon various survey data that is taken from a collection of anonymous employees and employers across Norway.
There are many zookeepers that will get their start in the industry while volunteering at a zoo. While working to become an entry-level zookeeper, either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree will be required. The training usually consists of conservation biology, animal science, zoology, animal behavior, and wildlife management. If you would like to take care of any marine mammals, the caretaker will have to get a degree in psychology, marine biology, or some related field, while also having SCUBA certification and strong swimming skills.
For a curator, veterinarian, or zoologist, there needs to be an advanced degree. When you want to work in any aquarium or zoo that is operated through a local government, the candidate may also be required to pass a civil service examination.
The working hours as a zookeeper will depend upon the facility where you work, with many being on a rotating schedule. Zookeepers need to be on staff at all times, especially during the common active hours and feeding times for the different species. There will be work that needs to be done whether or not there is a weekend or a holiday. Even on days off, the chances are good that you will still be on call should you be needed, such as when someone calls out or if there is an issue at the facility.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
The benefits packages for being a zookeeper may depend upon the facility you are employed by, as well as other factors such as the hours that you work and your time in. In the United States, roughly 68% of employers offer medical benefits, 44% offer dental benefits, and 36% offer vision benefits. Out of the recent studies and surveys, about 29% do not offer any benefits package. Other benefits may include paid vacation, accident insurance, and retirement plans.
When looking at bonuses, in the United States a zookeeper will see an annual bonus that is an average of $646.
While the salary may not be high in some countries for the position of a zookeeper, this is a difficult job to obtain. There is a lot of competition for this field, and it is expected to stay strong for the years to come. Because there are only so many zoos and such strong competition for the positions that are available, you may not see much growth in this field when compared to the other jobs that are available in the animal industry.
Even though the job of being a zookeeper is considered to be rigorous work and there are a variety academic qualifications that are required for the job, this is a field that can be very rewarding. The job of a zookeeper is often the stepping stone that many people start with when they want to advance their career to become a curator. It is all about finding the right facility to work for while balancing your learning experiences along the way. If you simply start out as a volunteer, in the beginning, you can eventually work your way up through the zookeeper position while getting your education and certifications so that you can become a senior level zookeeper at your choice of zoos just about anywhere around the globe.