Zoo Education Manager jobs(Also known as Zoo curator of education, Dean of zoological institute)
A zoo education manager is responsible for deploying the curriculum for a zoological institute to the public in an informative and enjoyable way, and works to curate and manage exhibits. Part of the role of a zoo is to impart knowledge to visitors, as well as to entertain families and children. The staff are not just animal keepers, but zoological specialists whose job it is to understand the species under their care, manage their habitat and wellbeing, and communicate information on the plethora of species to visitors of the zoo. The Zoo’s education manager is responsible for designing the curriculum, which includes information posted around the site, the programme for interactive events and shows, and liaising with other educational facilities (zoos, universities and schools) to increase visitor numbers and the quality of education gained during the visit. They work to acquire animals and supervise their introduction into the zoo. Information about the various species needs to be communicated to visitors in a way that they can understand. Depending on the type of exhibit, the communication may need to be detailed and informative, or perhaps in the case of a small petting zoo targeted at children, with easily-digestible snippets they can remember or write in school books. The balance of the animal “portfolio” under the care of the zoo is handled by the manager. As well as functioning as the zoo’s educational curator, the education manager must also work with other departments to improve the range of offering, the wellbeing of the animals and the quality of the visitor experience as a whole.
SalarySalaries within the zoological sector, outside the academic posts, have typically been quite poor but the role of education manager also demands a formal degree, and so the salary is better than most. For educational zoological institutions in the United Kingdom, the average starting salary for a zoo education manager can be as low as £20,818, although the average for a second year placement is £31,454 per year depending on variations on the exact curatorial/educational position and areas of responsibility. This may increase to £43,596 per year with experience and favourable performance on the part of the candidate.
- Design a plan of education (curriculum) for deployment to zoo visitors
- Assist with planning of dietary maintenance and medical care
- Exercise planning and provision for wellbeing of the animals
- Planning and design of enclosure and ground layouts
- Liaise with other educational institutions to increase visitor numbers and quality of education
- Manage in-house captive breeding programmes
- Organise exchanges and transfers with other zoos, “acquisition” and feasibility studies
- Oversee the introduction of new animals into existing enclosures
- Compose copy for information material (signs, CD-ROMs, displays)
- Organise transport for animals being transferred
- Manage a large number of staff under direct and indirect supervision of the Department of Education
QualificationsA high level of education is required for candidates who wish to become education managers because it is essential they are able to express their own understanding in a manner which others can absorb. The first step after school or sixth-form college is a university degree. Candidates will typically tend to look at courses focussing on cell biology, conservation biology, zoology or ecology. After this, the candidate may join a zoo in an educational capacity, but to actually have ownership and make decisions on the zoo’s own teaching curriculum will usually require a doctorate, which typically represents several years of intensive study at university.
- Have a desire to work with a range of animals or a specific type and breed of wild animal
- Develop a rounded understanding of conservation and animal biology
- Understand how best to serve the public’s desire or capacity to absorb knowledge on the various species
- Be able to plan a large number of department projects and manage rotas and diaries
- Have a flexible approach to work, be a team player and be able to arrange cover during absence
- Be prepared to work long or unsociable hours, weekends and public holidays
- Have an academic mind and be open to embracing opportunities for additional study
- Be prepared to travel internationally when dealing with acquisition and medical care of the animals