The Exact Answer For: How Much Do Zookeepers Make and Detailed Job Description?

Many young people who genuinely care for animals and want to live in harmony with the wild have chosen to work as zookeepers. It appears that getting a job in this field will be relatively simple because you will not need to weigh many factors such as degrees, qualifications, etc. In 2016, there were approximately 241,500 animal caregivers working in the United States. How much do zookeepers make? A zookeeper’s all-work description is given below.

What Are The Zookeepers’ Duties & Responsibilities?

Zookeepers are specialists in the area of animal treatment. They have a wealth of expertise, knowledge, and appreciation of the different animals for which they care. As a result, they can handle and treat animals quickly and effectively, keep them safe, and provide them with a suitable living environment. In general, zookeepers’ primary responsibilities will include:

  • Feed the animals nutritious and appropriate foods.
  • Treatment and drug administration for animals (if possible)
  • Ensure your barns and animal environments are still clean and safe and report any suspicious animal activity to your veterinarian or manager for immediate attention.
  • Support zoo management and veterinary work
  • Keep meticulous records of animal care practices, a species registry, and so on.
What Are The Zookeepers’ Duties & Responsibilities?

What do zookeepers do? – Source: wikimedia

Furthermore, they play an essential role in piquing visitors’ interest in the zoo by providing information as needed, assisting in the welcome of tourists, ensuring visitors’ protection, and sharing animal knowledge with passers-by, etc.

Prefer working with domestic animals? Try reading An Ultimate Guide To Be A Dog Trainer – How Much Do Dog Trainers Make?

How Much Do Zookeepers Make – Income Range And Other Benefits

Zookeepers are not among the highest-paying jobs, yet they do come with many perks and incentives. There are detailed estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the United States (2018).

  • Zookeepers earn an average of $ 29,000 a year. But 29000 a year is how much an hour? The answer is an average hourly wage of $14.50 per hour (divide 29,000 by the total hours of work each year – 2000, and then you get 14.50). However, the average annual pay for zookeepers varies depending on the area in which they work.
  • Zookeepers in the top 10% of annual income will earn up to $ 37,250 (equivalent to $ 17.91 per hour).
  • The annual income of the bottom 10% is less than $18,160 (equivalent to $8.73/hour).

However, the average annual pay for zookeepers varies depending on the area in which they work.

Some people may ask: “How much do zoologists get paid?” to make a comparison to the zookeepers’ income.  In reality, zoologists’ average salary is up to $ 60,670, according to the BLS (2009). When compared to the average wage of zookeepers in general, it is certainly a higher number. Accordingly, you might consider pursuing a career as a zoologist to earn more money. On the other hand, this role would necessitate higher qualifications and experience.

Zookeeper Working Hours

Taking photos in the zoo

A zookeeper helps the visitor to take a photo- Source: api.time

It is important to remember that the work characteristics are directly related to the animals in need of care, so zookeepers must be on duty at all times during these hours. The zookeepers’ shifts are usually rotated, and they can operate during the day, evening, even night, or early morning.

What’s more, zookeepers must be available at all times during major holidays and weekends as animals can’t leave caregivers even for a single day. Notwithstanding, senior zookeepers at certain zoos have the option of taking a few priority days off (such as Christmas or Saturday).

It is not easy to become a zookeeper

Certificate And Skill Requirements

To be honest, there are many ways to get into this career. Of course, having both knowledge and experience in the animal care industry will prepare you for a better chance of getting other critical duties in your workplace.


Animal science, zoology, and biology or zoology are traditional prerequisites for zookeepers. Awareness of animal behavior, anatomy, physiology, and reproductive physiology for each species is fundamental.


It would be ideal for zookeepers to have previous experience working with animals in veterinary hospitals, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or other similar environments. What’s more, these are some required characteristics for zookeepers:


Perhaps the animals would be “aggressive” or “naughty.” If they behave violently or uncontrollably, you will have to deal with those circumstances. You will certainly manage the situation more easily with experience and patience.

Physical Enhancement

This task necessitates a lot of running, jumping, and climbing. During working, you would have outstanding physical ability and stamina thanks to a variety of rigorous workouts.

Observation Skills

Zookeepers will have to deal with some unauthorized guests accessing the restricted area of the barn. They also must ensure the safety of guests during tours.

Many young people want to live in harmony with the wild have chosen to work as zookeepers

Do you love animals? – Source:

Detail Oriented

Animals may become ill, but ordinary people can not know until it’s too late. As an experienced individual, you would recognize an animal in need of care and treatment when they start showing several symptoms. Henceforth, the zookeepers have to adjust the diet and medications according to the animal’s condition.

Job Prospect

Zookeepers' jobs are projected to rise by 22%

How about the zookeeper’s job outlook? Source:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, zookeepers’ jobs are projected to rise by 22%. This growth rate is considered to be substantially higher than the industry average.

In reality, despite the low pay, the position will become scarce and competitive in the future as demand for zookeepers grows, as more and more zoos are established, and this position is frequently in need.

Work Environment And Schedule

If it is raining, storming, sunny, or shady, zookeepers are often expected to conduct manual labor in various weather conditions. The animals can bite, scratch, kick, or injure the zookeepers if they are not always obedient. Not to mention that many animals would be afraid of human touch, making their treatment more difficult.

Consequently, you will need to learn a few of the species’ characteristics to avoid disturbing them. If you make several careless actions, they may hurt you.

Since the animals need treatment 24 hours a day, the zookeepers must be present for evenings, weekends, and even holidays. According to BLS, about 40% of all zookeepers were employed part-time in 2016 but not during office hours.

In A Nutshell – How Much Do Zookeepers Make

Although working as a zookeeper does not pay well, it does offer a unique range of experiences and resources that no other profession can match. Furthermore, this is an excellent career choice for those who enjoy animals and nature and want to obtain hands-on experience caring for animals.

How much do zookeepers make? Perhaps after reading our free information, you’ve had the answers and made your own decisions on whether or not to pursue this path. I hope you will have a good time working for your passion while helping others like me when writing this article.

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Ellie - a go-getter in the content creating industry.  Since 2016, she has been actively engaged in writing and career guidance. Simply put, Ellie realized that what truly drives her is advising and coaching people on the path to self-discovery. She currently works with JobandEdu as a researcher and writer. Ellie's articles serve as advice columns for people at a crossroads in their careers or who can't make up their minds. She guides them through determining a pathway, job hunting, overcoming hurdles at work, and the multiple tip-top tools on the go. She also regularly shares her perspectives on topics piquing her curiosity or providing her with actionable insights.