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Internships

The Saint Louis Zoo provides college students, recent graduates and individuals with prior college coursework an opportunity to learn about the Zoo's zoological operations while obtaining valuable,hands-on work experience and an understanding of the Zoo's role in research and conservation. Over 100 interns contribute to the Zoo’s mission each year!

Do you want to:

  • Have a valuable, hands-on work experience?
  • Learn directly from Zoo professionals?
  • Make a difference for endangered species and conservation issues?

A variety of both paid and unpaid internships are available in various animal management and non-animal departments. Paid and unpaid opportunities are department/area specific and may vary based on need and time of the year. Please review the information below carefully before applying. If eligible, applicants may apply to both paid and unpaid opportunities. Please note, there are different applications for paid versus unpaid internships.

See below for links.

Hear what past interns have to say about their experience!

Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum age requirement is 18.
  • Applicants need not be currently enrolled in college/university, but prior college coursework is required.
  • A minimum of 15 hours per week for a minimum of six weeks for unpaid internships.
  • All individuals completing an internship in an animal area will be asked to submit a negative TB test result by the start of their internship. If you have been tested within the past six months of your acceptance, you do not need to be retested. However, you must still submit results to Volunteer Services.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for interns in these areas: Education, Jungle of the Apes, Primates, Research, Sea Lion Sound, Veterinary Preceptorship and Veterinary Technician.
  • All successful candidates will be required to submit to a background check. If network access is required for the position, candidates will also be required to submit to a drug test.

Required Materials

  • A letter of intent
  • Resume
  • Reference Letters
    • Unpaid internship applications: two letters of reference (educational or business) can be uploaded to the application form or e-mailed by the writers directly to Volunteer Services at volunteerservices@stlzoo.org.
    • Paid internship applications: two letters of reference (educational or business) may be uploaded directly to the application form

Deadlines

  • Winter/Spring Semester: November 1 (These internships begin in late January.)
  • Summer: March 1 (These internships begin in late May.)
  • Fall Semester: July 1 (These internships begin in late August.)

Paid Internship Opportunities

In addition to departmental specific duties, interns will meet with their peers for regular learning opportunities such as tours, career panels and professional development, as well as demonstrate theirlearning at the completion of the internship through a presentation. With support from our zookeepers, educators and researcher mentors, interns will learn how a zoo operates while gaining valuable newskills and a better understanding of future career opportunities. The most successful candidates will be curious, motivated and open to learning.

The Saint Louis Zoo is committed to playing a pivotal role in diversifying the future workforce of zoos and conservation organizations. The Saint Louis Zoo paid internship program is designed foremerging zoo professionals from populations who are underrepresented in the animal care and zoo industry. Candidates who have financial need (those who otherwise would not be able to pursue anunpaid internship), reside in the Greater St. Louis bi-state metropolitan area, identify as Black, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Arab, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Latino/a/x, and/or those with diversecultural experiences are encouraged to apply. All submitted applications will be considered.

Summer 2024 Paid Internship Opportunities

The earliest start date for summer internships will be May 27, 2024, and interns will complete 300 hours, at a pay rate of $13.50/hour.

Paid internships include Animal Health, Antelope, Birds, Hellbender, Herpetology & Aquatics, River’s Edge, Veterinary Technician and WildCare Park and Sears Lehmann, Jr. Wildlife Reserve.

Apply Here


Unpaid Internship Opportunities

A variety of unpaid internships are available throughout the year. There are over 30 departments to choose from, in areas that include animal management and non-animal related fields. See above for Eligibility Requirements, application materials and deadlines. Please note, there are different applications for paid versus unpaid internships

View internship descriptions HERE

To apply for an unpaid internship, click HERE

Research and Veterinary Opportunities

The Research Department offers internships and independent study opportunities in four areas to upper level college students, recent university graduates, and graduate and veterinary students. See more about research opportunities.

Veterinary Preceptor opportunities are offered to students in the clinical year of a Doctoral program in Veterinary Medicine and are receiving credit from an accredited institution of higher learning. Veterinary Preceptors will shadow veterinary staff and receive exposure to all aspects of zoo-based veterinary medicine. Learn more about these opportunities on the Saint Louis Zoo Veterinary Preceptorship page.

Learn more about interning at the Saint Louis Zoo.

Frequently Asked Questions

No housing is provided.

Interns can be employed on a part-time basis by the Zoo during their internship; however, they cannot intern and work in the same area.

We do not accept internship applications after the posted deadline. We do accept interns each spring, summer and fall, so we encourage you to apply for a future semester.

Application materials are collected by Volunteer Services. Volunteer Services does not release submitted applications to hiring managers until the application deadline. After that date, applications are accessible to the hiring managers of the preferred areas indicated on your application. Qualified applicants will be interviewed and selected by curators or department managers. Processing time can take up to 8 weeks from the application deadline. All applicants will ultimately be notified of a decision by Volunteer Services.

Due to the volume of applications, emails and phone calls to Volunteer Services or Human Resources are discouraged as we are unable to check on application statuses. Thank you for your understanding.

A variety of both paid and unpaid internships and externships are available in various animal management and non-animal departments. Paid and unpaid opportunities are department/area specific and may vary based on need and time of the year. If eligible, applicants may apply to both paid and unpaid opportunities. To review departmental intern descriptions, click HERE. Please note, there are different applications for paid versus unpaid internships.

Questions? Email us!