Animal Curator

Manage a zoo's collection of animals.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$28,000 – $86,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Animal Curators do?

As an Animal Curator—or Zoo Curator—you’re a lot like a Museum Curator because you manage a collection. The difference is your collection is a living one that eats, breathes, roams and occasionally roars.

Equal parts Zookeeper and Matchmaker, you monitor the population of animals in your zoo to make sure you have the right numbers and the right species, then work with other zoos to acquire animals you lack or place animals you don’t need. You’re a Zookeeper, meanwhile, because you help study and care for your animals, making sure they’re well fed, groomed, and protected. Finally, you’re a Matchmaker, as you’re responsible for making sure your animals reproduce, which means creating breeding programs and working with other zoos to find appropriate mates.

Although you fill each of your three roles with equal gusto, your primary responsibility as an Animal Curator is that of animal advocate, which means designing animal-friendly exhibits, creating and delivering education programs for zoo visitors, and contributing to wildlife conservation efforts.

Of course, your job isn’t just caring for creatures. It’s also caring for the zoo, which involves lots of recordkeeping, communication, and administration. Don’t worry, though. Even then, it’s all about the animals!

Should I be an Animal Curator?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.

  • Also known as: Curator of Photography and Prints, Photography and Prints Curator, Prints and Drawings Curator, Zoo Curator

    How to become an Animal Curator

    Animal Curators often have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ybaa19&chl=doctorate+%2830%25%29|no+college+%281%25%29|||bachelor%27s+%2832%25%29|master%27s+%2837%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,30,37
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