Caring for the animals in a zoological park can be extremely rewarding and challenging. At the SeaWorld parks and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, the majority of the opportunities to work with animals are found within the Aquarium, Aviculture, Mammals, Animal Training, and Education departments. In some parks, individuals work on teams to manage exhibits that display a number of different animal species. These people care for fishes, mammals, and birds at the same time, instead of specializing in one group. One example is SeaWorld of Florida's Wild Arctic, which houses polar bears, beluga whales, walruses, harbor seals, and fishes, and features an integrated team concept. Select members of the Animal Care, Aquarium, and Animal Training departments are trained with a multi-disciplinary approach, allowing each to fulfill any need the animals or the area might require.
Overall job requirements include good health and physical condition and a willingness to learn and reach higher levels of knowledge regarding animal care. In addition, animal-related jobs in an aquatic park require that you have scuba and CPR certification as well as the physical fitness to pass a rigorous swim test.
Although many of the jobs within a zoological park require a period of on-the-job training, managers and supervisors also look for people with a college degree or those who are working toward one. Previous experience working with animals is considered as well. Volunteer work, including docent or research assistant positions, can also be beneficial to an applicant by expressing dedication and a sense of career direction. As an employee reaches an upper level position, he or she may be required to complete research projects in his or her field.