Zoo & Aquarium Science

What it's about

The Zoo & Aquarium Science curriculum provides individuals with the skills, knowledge and experiences necessary to provide the day-to-day animal care and husbandry of captive animal collections.

Jobs available

  • Animal Keeper
  • Animal Trainer
  • Animal Caregiver/Caretaker
  • Animal Attendant
  • Animal Service Worker
  • Animal Technician
  • Animal Nursery Worker
  • Field Assistant

Courses you'll take

Coursework emphasizes the scientific concepts related to the health care, behavior, and husbandry of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals commonly found in zoological parks and nature science centers. Lab and co-operative work experiences are opportunities that allow students to reinforce and apply these concepts under a structured environment with live animal collections.

What you'll gain

Graduates of the program are qualified for entry level professional opportunities working with live animal collections in the following settings: aquaria, nature science centers, wild animal parks, wildlife rehabilitation centers, zoological parks, and other conservation organizations.


Upon successful completion of this program, the student should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate exhibit protocol paying particular attention to details of cleaning, disinfecting and basic repair.
  2. Communicate with peers in a professional manner using appropriate tones and terminology.
  3. Understand and effectively apply principles of environmental enrichment and operant conditioning in the daily care of collection.
  4. Demonstrate skills valued in the workplace including positive attitude, enthusiasm, ability to work effectively in a team environment and initiative.
  5. Demonstrate a strong commitment towards professionalism in their appearance, punctuality, preparedness, dependability and reliability, and work ethic.
  6. Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills with consumers and with coworkers.

Admission Requirements: 

Applicants for admission in the Zoo & Aquarium Science program must have: 

  1. Completed and submitted an Application for Admission to DCCC.
  2. Completed and submitted Zoo & Aquarium Science “Intent to Enroll” form.
  3. Graduated from high school or have an Adult High School Diploma or have passed the High School Equivalency with an equivalency certification which meets minimum requirements set by the State of North Carolina. Official high school transcript and copy of AHS diploma/High School Equivalency certificate and official college transcripts, where applicable, must be on file in the Admissions Office.
  4. Physical health, emotional health, and vaccination requirements successfully met and documented as part of the program application process.
  5. Achieved grades of “C” or higher in any required course in the curriculum taken prior to entry into the Zoo & Aquarium Science program. 

Performance Standards

In addition to DCCC requirements and course objectives, there are professional standards that encompass communication and motor skills and professional conduct that are essential for the competent study and practice of zoo science. These performance standards are available in the Zoo & Aquarium Science Laboratory and Co-operative Experience Handbook.

Criminal Background Check

A criminal background check and/or drug testing may be required by the co-op animal facility prior to participation in the cooperative education experience.

If any co-op animal facility refuses to allow the student to participate in co-op experiences in that facility, the student may not be able to progress in the program.

Probation and Suspension

Zoo & Aquarium Science students are subject to the same probation and suspension policies as all other students enrolled in the College.

Since requirements for progression in the ZAS program are in addition to the general requirements of the College, a student suspended from the program is not necessarily suspended from the College. Students who are eligible to do so may continue their supporting courses and apply for readmission to the program at a later time or may elect to change their major.

Note: The Aquarium Science program will admit students every other year. The next class to be admitted will be in Fall 2015.

School of Arts,
Sciences & Education

Question about this program?
Our Advisors are here to help! 

Kathryn Schenk
Davidson Campus - Last names A-G
336.249.8186 ext. 6419

Jenny Biesecker
Davidson Campus - Last names H-O
336.249.8186 ext. 6418

Brian Eshleman
Davidson Campus - Last names P-Z
336.249.8186 ext. 6277 

Sandra Porter
Davie Campus
336.249.8186 ext. 4853

Apply Now