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Zoo & Aquarium Science

Do you want to become a zookeeper or aquarist?  Do you dream of working with carnivores, primates, marine mammals or other exotic wildlife? If so, our Certificate Program in Zoo and Aquarium Science is for you! Our program takes a comprehensive approach to the management and care of zoo animals.


​Your training will allow you to:

  • Obtain a position as a zoo keeper or aquarist

  • Learn to safely handle and train wildlife

  • Train animals to voluntarily participate in procedures

  • Design new exhibits and housing

  • Create a behavioral enrichment programs

  • Manage breeding programs to promote health & genetic diversity

  • Create proper diets based on sound nutrition

  • Minimize the risk of disease transmission

  • Create engaging educational programs

  • Build conservation programs that foster good stewardship

  • And much, much more!


The Zoo & Aquarium Science certificate requires the completion of five online courses (15 academic credits) and a field requirement consisting of 40 hours of hands-on experience as an employee, intern or volunteer at an approved institution of your choice.

Choose one elective:​

  1. ABI 222  Animal Enrichment

  2. ABI 233  Animal Training

  3. ABI 251  Behavior & Training of Marine Mammals

  4. ABI 281  Avian Training  

  5. ABI 291 Carnivore Training & Behavior

  6. ABI 378  Primate Behavior & Enrichment


​Required courses:

  1. ABI 142  Environmental Education & Outreach

  2. ABI 221  Husbandry & Record Keeping

  3. ABI 242  Exotic Animal Management & Conservation

  4. ABI 311  Animal Nutrition, Health & Disease


Upon graduation, students will earn their certificate and may begin using the designation CZASP, Certified Zoo & Aquarium Science Professional. Most graduates go on to obtain positions as zoo keepers or environmental educators. Others work as nutritionists, animal trainers, aquarists or curators. The field of animal care and service workers, which includes zoo keepers and animal trainers, is expected to grow at 15% over the next decade.* But competition for zoo positions will remain keen in the future; let ABI give you the competitive advantage you need to succeed!

Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)

The Animal Behavior Institute is one of the select institutions to be chosen as a Learning Partner of the AZA. The professional ties between our two organizations allow you to use many of the courses offered by ABI as electives in the Professional Development Certificates offered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Please visit our ABI-AZA Learning Partners site for more information.

American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK)

The Animal Behavior Institute is proud to be an institutional member of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. We support their mission of fostering professional education among zoo keepers and ultimately global conservation & stewardship.

Our Approach

Students at the Animal Behavior Institute participate in a highly interactive online classroom, engaging in regular dialog with their professors and student colleagues. You'll receive feedback each week, completing collaborative projects while working with your own animals. This collaboration, coupled with the weekly mentoring each student receives from their instructors, ensures that you will receive a very personal education.

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