Creatures Big & Small.

Become a Nationally Accredited Zookeeper

Study to Become a Qualified Zookeeper Through Career College UK.

Start a Zoological Career with our Nationally Accredited Zookeeper Course.

Why Become a Zookeeper?

If you have a passion for animals, wildlife and conservation, then a Career as a Zookeeper is certainly for you.  As a Zookeeper you are responsible for the care and welfare of a unique range of animals.

Starting a Career as a Zookeeper can be very challenging as it is an extremely popular profession.  For those without previous extensive professional experience, or a degree in zoology, veterinary science or conservation, it can be difficult to get your foot in the door and get your career started.

Career College UK and its partners are the only training providers in the UK to offer the Nationally Recognised, Ofqual (Government) Regulated Qualification in Zookeeping that you can study without already being employed by a Zoo – helping you stand out from the crowd and be able to get into your first role in a Zoo, Safari or Wildlife Park.

Zookeeper Qualifications

Historically, Zookeepers have had a range of different qualifications – the most common of which would be a University Degree in Zoology, Veterinary Science or Conservation.  Those fortunate enough to secure a position without a qualification are most often put through the Diploma in Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals (DMZAA) – a 2-3 year apprenticeship which requires students to already be working full time within a zoo (to complete the practical components) whilst completing further study from home.

The Level 3 Diploma in Zookeeping – offered by Career College UK and its partners, enables students to study the only Nationally Recognised Qualification in Zookeeping for those not already working within a Zoo – greatly increasing your employment opportunities and enabling you to get into your first job in a very competitive position.  The Level 3 Diploma is also a very popular option as it allows you to receive a Industry Recognised Qualification without investing £30,000+ and 3 years of full-time study in a University Degree.

Awarded by the Open College Network, the Level 3 Diploma is a Nationally Recognised and Regulated by the Government Department Ofqual.  National Qualification Number – 603/4158/0


How do you Start?

No previous experience necessary, this qualification is suitable for students aged 16 years or older.  However, don’t worry – we have many mature students studying with us who are looking for a change of career!

As the only Nationally Recognised Zookeeper Qualification in the UK, there has been overwhelming popularity for the programme – so do not delay in contacting us for more information and to speak to our friendly Careers Team.

Zookeeper Course Information

On the commencement date of each course students are emailed their unique link and login details to commence their theory work online.  Through a combination of written and visual content you will work through each unit completing short assessments throughout.

Self-Paced, students can complete their theory work at their own pace – with full tutor support every step of the way.  Students usually complete the online theory within around 6 months – although students are given 2 years.

In addition to online theory – you will receive hands on experience with 1 Week of Practical Training and Teaching at Blackpool Zoo.  The only training of its kind within the UK for non-zoo employees – you will have direct contact and tutoring in the care of a number of key species including giraffes, penguins, prosimians, aardvarks, tapirs and sea lions.

1 Weeks Accommodation is available for students at an additional cost for those requiring to travel and stay in Blackpool for the duration of the practical training.

Unit 1
Development of Zoos
Students will learn how the use of animals in captivity has developed historically and about the progress made from early zoos to modern zoos. Gain an understanding of the roles of modern zoos and how this has changed over the years, including the areas of entertainment, research, conservation and education. Understand how your role of zookeeper assists with the roles of the modern zoo.

Unit 2
Animal Welfare and Ethics
Students will learn about the main animal needs of animals in captivity and the assessment of animal welfare in zoos including the management of breeding of animals in captivity. This unit also explore ethics within animal welfare and the ethical implications of keeping animals in a zoo.

Unit 3
Conservation in Zoos
Students will understand the different options of conservation available to zoos and why zoological collections are more suitable to different forms of conservation. This unit also explores how various breeding programmes work.

Unit 4
Zoo Design
Zoo design is always advancing as we have more materials and skills available as we gain more knowledge about the animals we keep. This unit discusses how our perceptions of the ideal animal enclosure have changed and what we feel are the most important things that an animal requires when kept in captivity. As one of the most common answers is ‘space’ – which is usually limited – how do we find creative solutions to get around this problem? It  also covers other aspects required in zoo design such as the practicalities of public viewing and keeper safety. The general layout of the zoo is discussed including any preferences to a zoological or geographical style. The pros and cons of each is considered.

Students will gain an understanding about the main considerations for general zoo design and learn how to improve existing enclosures and change perceptions of animal’s enclosures in zoos.  Additionally, students will gain an understanding about the health and safety requirements for enclosure design.

Unit 5
Disease and Prevention
Students will learn how to report unusual behaviours and signs of illness promptly. Learn about zoonotic and animal disease and how to prevent their spread. Explore how to source information about animal diets and nutrition and how to correctly store animal feeds.

Unit 6
Management of Animals in Zoos
Learn about the basic information that is required for the management of animals in a zoo.  Gain an understanding about how to use observation skills effectively as a zookeeper and the importance of record keeping in the management of animals in a zoo. This unit also explores the importance of team work in the management of animals in a zoo.

Unit 7
Enrichment and Training
This unit explores the value of environmental enrichment and stress reduction in a modern zoo environment and how replicating their natural habitat as well as possible, can significantly improve the welfare of animals in captivity.

The various types of enrichment are discussed in some detail as well as their definitions. The safety of zoo animals and the need to study the results are also explored. The usefulness of enrichment for more than just the animals is also discussed.

Learn about the development and uses of training and the different training methods. Learn how to identify and respond to signs of stress in zoo animals. Gain an understanding about behaviour and body language in zoo animals. The differences between positive and negative reinforcement is also discussed. Various sources of enrichment and training information are supplied as part of this unit.

Unit 8
Zoos and the Media
This unit explores the importance and value of the media to a modern zoo and why it is important for staff to be aware of the importance of what keepers say. It explains how keepers are ‘ambassadors’ for the zoo community in general and their collection in particular.  The importance of keeping the zoos press office informed of all events and what the keeper’s role could be during media events is also covered. Gain an understanding about the use of keepers for presentations both within the zoo and externally at conferences and meetings.

Learn about the importance of both education and research within the modern zoo and how the keeper can assist with both departments. The position of both departments within the modern education system is also explored and how they are often closely connected to all the other departments within the zoo. (Zoos’ are one of the few facilities that assist with teaching right from pre-school through to PhD level). This unit also covers the information given out by the zoos in posters, signage and booklets.

Unit 9
Legislation and Zoological Collections
Gain knowledge about the legislations that are relevant to zoological collections in the UK and Europe.  Learn about zoo relevant associations in the UK and Europe and analyse the impact on the role of the zookeeper. Gain an understanding of legislation in animal transportation in the UK and Europe. This unit also explores zoo keeper and visitor interaction with animals and the limitations within this area.

Course Fees – £2800

Receive £500 discount for for a limited time only – £2300

Please speak to our Careers Team for more information – and details on payment plans.

Why Us?

Face to Face Training

The only qualification of its kind – students receive face to face training providing invaluable knowledge and experience – valued significantly by employers.

Nationally Recognised Qualification

Regulated by the Government Department Ofqual – you have the reassurance the qualification is Nationally Recognised and Regulated to the highest standard.

Dedicated Tutor

You will have a highly experienced, dedicated tutor available to assist you throughout your studies.  Having a personal tutor will ensure you get through your studies as quickly and easy as possible.

Self-Paced Study

Complete the qualification as quickly or as slowly as you like – depending on your work and family commitments.  Most students complete the course in around 6 months, but you have 2 years to complete the qualification.

  • The course was so interesting with help available if I needed it. I loved that I could do it around a full time and very demanding job so that I could still achieve my desired grade.

    - Emma Charlotte

  • The courses are very interesting and fun, and the people who mark the modules are very helpful. Would certainly recommend these courses to anyone interested in animal careers.

    - Andrew Richard

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