San Diego Zoo Application Online: Jobs & Career Info

Employees at San Diego Zoo provide unforgettable guest experiences for more than 500,000 members across the world and care for more than 3,700 animals, including one of the only giant panda exhibits in the world. Animal-loving workers find jobs as zoo keepers and in other essential roles.

Facts About Working at San Diego Zoo

Hiring Age: 18 years old (How old do you have to be to work at San Diego Zoo?)

Available Positions: Admissions Agent, Food Service Clerk, Merchandise Sales Clerk, Park Aide, Pricing Clerk, Educator Guide, Gardener, Researcher, Animal Keeper, Security Officer, Assistant Zoo Manager, General Zoo Manager, Landscaper, Groundskeeper, Sanitation

Printable Application: No. Search Job Openings or visit official site.

San Diego Zoo Job Opportunities

Initially founded in 1916, San Diego Zoo upholds a proud tradition of pioneering animal and environmental conservation efforts. The employer cultivates friendly and constructive work atmospheres for associates, who make the zoo a success. Work opportunities of all kinds exist from part-time summer jobs and landscaping services to full-time careers working in public relations or conservation research. Diversely talented employees stand united by passion for working with wildlife.

Associates enjoy beautiful, fun work environments and close, family-like team of workers. Individuals interested in applying for zoo keeper jobs must possess experience and education in order to stand out among fierce competition for coveted roles. Additional career paths at San Diego Zoo include guest services associates, horticulturists, science and research specialists, operations and facilities personnel, and business and operational support staff. Some positions require education and training; however, prospective employees may find many entry-level employment opportunities requiring no previous experience.

San Diego Zoo Work Information and Salary Packages

Even though San Diego Zoo remains open every day of the year, job seekers may find jobs more readily available during the summer, when guest attendance reaches a peak. Application forms exist online for the following positions:

Education Program Aide

  • The entry-level position typically pays hourly wages between $9.00 and $10.00.
  • Aides assist educators with tasks related to educational activities, such as setting up program materials, serving snacks, and leading zoo tours.
  • Workers must occasionally take on overnight shifts in the event of sleepover programs.
  • Requirements for consideration include standing at least 18 years of age, the ability to lift 50 pounds, advanced electric cart driving skills, dependable character traits, and valid driver’s licenses.
  • Applicants stand required to undergo criminal background checks before working with children.

Security Officer

  • Protecting the safety of visitors, employees, and animals stands paramount and falls under the responsibility of zoo security officers.
  • Typical duties center on patrolling the park, assisting guests, ensuring compliance with safety and security policies, handling guest issues, and writing reports.
  • Applicants must hold at least two years security, military, or law enforcement experience and the ability to legally operate firearms.
  • To receive full consideration for the position, prospective employees must possess valid guard cards, pepper spray permits, valid California driver’s licenses, and must complete CPR certifications within two weeks of hire.
  • Additionally, workers must successfully pass background checks and company driving exams.


  • Full-time zoo keepers earn starting wages of $20.00 to $23.00 per hour to manage animals throughout the park by feeding, training, enriching, and providing general care.
  • Zookeepers often carry out duties based on assignment to certain animals or areas of the zoo.
  • Candidates must hold at least two years of experience working with specified animal groups.
  • Knowledge of animal husbandry, mammal management, positive reinforcement operant conditioning techniques and care, feeding, and handling procedures for exotic creatures stands required.
  • The job may entail such hazards as slippery surfaces, heights, cramped spaces, and possible exposure to zoonotic diseases in addition to the hazards inherent in handling wild animals.
  • Bachelor’s degrees in biological fields prove necessary to turn in applications along with experience working in accredited zoological facilities and valid California driver’s licenses.

Tips For Applying

In order to qualify for consideration as zookeepers or other roles, applicants should ensure resumes include recent and relevant experience and education qualifications. Candidates may hand in application forms in person or submit hiring forms through the company website. Online forms take about 20 minutes to complete and require prospective associates to enter personal information as well as upload resumes and answer legal questions. The zoo also occasionally hosts onsite job fairs where interested applicants may learn about job positions and apply to fill entry-level roles.

Application Status

Hiring managers at San Diego Zoo typically receive an abundance of applications for job openings, which typically restricts contact with candidates until after initial eligibility screenings finalize, often taking several weeks. Contacting hiring managers to check on the statuses of applications may prove difficult. Eligible candidates receive invitations to continue with the interview process through phone or email.

Job Benefits at San Diego Zoo

Part-time workers receive competitive employee benefits packages, including:

  • Tuition reimbursement, enrollment in 31 403(b) plans similar to 401(k) retirement plans, company-provided uniforms, pet insurance, free zoo admission, complimentary tickets for family members, and access to company wellness programs.
  • Full-time associates enjoy expanded job benefits options.
  • Further employment benefits include paid time off, pension plans, medical, dental, vision, and life insurance coverages, continuing education insurances, and employee assistance programs.

Additional Details about San Diego Zoo

Continuing a long tradition of providing resident animals with enclosures closely matching natural habitats, San Diego Zoo recently spearheaded a new renovation project aimed at building a beach-like space for African penguins at the zoo. Park members may donate money to make the project a reality. In the wild, African penguins spend time on land and in the sea, often frolicking on sandy beaches. By providing an enclosure which more closely mimics nature, the zoo hopes to provide the animals with happier, more comfortable lives.

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