Internships

CAREERS   INTERNSHIPS   VOLUNTEER

pittsburgh zoo & aquarium internships

Join the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium’s team to gain a practical hands-on introduction to working in a modern zoological park. Interns assist the Zoo’s professional staff in working toward our mission of connecting people to wildlife and inspiring communities to conserve nature for future generations. Internships are available in a variety of departments, and are ideal for students and graduates looking to develop basic abilities, further refine advanced skills, and enhance their career goals.

Basic requirements may vary by department, but ALL interns must meet the following criteria:
– Must be 18 years of age or older
– A current TB test if doing the Elephant/Giraffe, ICC, and Islands internships
– Must undergo a background check

PA residents can process their own intern/volunteer background check for free online. https://epatch.pa.gov/home Cost varies for residents of other states.

Please note that all Zoo internships are unpaid, and all interns are responsible for providing their own housing.

Click on your preferred internship program to learn more. To apply, please complete and submit the application form below. You may apply for multiple internships using a single application. Only complete applications will be considered.

APPLY now

Fall 2023 internships have been filled. We are now accepting applications for the 2024 spring semester.

before applying, view all the available internships and descriptions below

 

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Development Internship

Purpose: The Development Intern will support administrative functions related to the Zoo’s Development work and will assist the fundraising team. The Development Intern will also help to balance the administrative needs of the Development Department as they relate to donors and Zoo members.

Essential Functions:
• Respond to the inquiries of fundraising volunteers in a timely and accurate manner.
• Organize behind-the-scenes tours and donor cultivation events.
• Coordinate donor recognition signage and delivery of sponsorship benefits.
• Schedule meetings, prepare talking points, assemble presentations, and prepare materials for staff meetings.
• Draft and send acknowledgment letters to donors.
• Provide accurate gift recording in compliance with all generally accepted accounting principles.
• Research and process matching gifts.
• Update spreadsheets/prospect lists with information regarding each strategy and outcome of cultivation and solicitation activities.
• Assist with the administration of donor stewardship programs including named opportunities/acknowledgments.
• Assist in the management, organization, and maintenance of all confidential donor records.
• Administer a variety of special projects and other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:
• Responsible, self-motivated, focused individual with outstanding organizational skills, consistently ensuring a high level of accuracy.
• Comfort in an external-facing role, working with executive-level donors and stakeholders.
• Excellent written, verbal, and customer service skills
• Excellent phone etiquette
• Flexibility in work hours, including weekends and evenings
• A high school diploma is required, pursuing a degree in public relations, communications, business, or other related field is preferred.

Timeline: The Development Internship is not a seasonal position, and applications can be accepted at any time.

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Development Internship. 

Membership Internship

Purpose: The Membership Intern will support administrative functions related to the Zoo’s Development and Membership work. This position is essential in expediting the processing of membership applications, card mailings, phone message follow-up, and calling lapsed members.

Essential Functions:
• Provide general support to the Membership Services Manager.
• Assist with membership mailings, including those distributed through mail houses.
• Prepare membership electronic communications for the Zoo’s website, and for communication to the membership constituency via electronic newsletter/outreach.
• Assist with website transactions related to membership, including renewals, changes, and new memberships.
• Assist with the transfer of member information to the Development database.
• Generate and mail communications with members, including membership cards, renewal letters, and benefit fulfillment.
• Answer membership inquiries and resolve complaints on-site, and via mail, email, and phone.
• Provide accurate gift recording in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles
• Update spreadsheets/prospect lists with information regarding each strategy and outcome of cultivation and solicitation activities.
• Assist in the management, organization, and maintenance of all confidential donor records.
• Administer special projects and other duties as assigned.

Qualifications:
• Responsible, self-motivated, focused individual with outstanding organizational skills, consistently ensuring a high level of accuracy.
• Comfort in an external-facing role, working with executive-level donors and stakeholders.
• Excellent written, verbal, and customer service skills
• Excellent phone etiquette
• Flexibility in work hours, including weekends and evenings
• A high school diploma is required, pursuing a degree in public relations, communications, business, or other related field is preferred

Timeline: The Membership Internship is not a seasonal position, and applications can be accepted at any time.

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Membership Internship. 

Events ASSISTANT INTERNSHIP

 

Purpose:  This position assists with the development, management, and execution a variety of special events that welcome a wide range of audiences to the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium throughout the year. This role includes event setup and execution, administrative tasks, and client relations. This position will assist with the execution of both Community Events (open to general public) and Private Events (client venue rental), with the opportunity to specialize into event tasks based on availability and performance.

Essential Functions:

  • Assists the Events Department with the operation of both private and community events on a scaling level of responsibility
  • Admits and greets private event group members entering the Zoo
  • Prepares and tests sound equipment
  • Posts event signage throughout the Zoo
  • Meets entertainment and other vendors to help unload, checks and follows up on needs
  • Assists Grounds and Catering Departments with cleaning and setup as described by Events Department
  • Follows up with clients and vendors, reviews event contracts, assists with client files, floor plans, event memos, general organization and office/storage tidiness
  • Meets with potential clients and assists staff with facility tours
  • Researches prospects and develops lists such as potential companies or preferred vendors in the area that the Zoo can approach regarding events; assists with mailings
  • Provides input on the improvement and advancement of Events Department
  • Works with customers to meet their needs, make suggestions, and ensure that we exceed expectations
  • Assists the Marketing Department as needed

Qualifications:

Applicants must be available every weekend in addition to 1-3 days each week. Required skills include strong work ethic, excellent communication, conflict resolution, teamwork, and initiative. A high school diploma is required; pursuing Business or Liberal Arts degree in hospitality, hotel, event planning, restaurant management or a related field is preferred. Other preferred skills and interests are event management, meeting planning experience, sales skills, attention to detail, and flexibility. Exposure to seasonal outdoor temperatures and occasional lifting up to 30 lbs. may occur. Applicants must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Events Assistant Internship. 

Communications internship

 

Purpose: This position will assist and learn about public relations, digital media, and communications with the goal of producing material that is relevant, educational, engaging, and accessible. This internship will explore a variety of marketing topics.

Essential Job Functions:
• Assists with public relations, digital media, and communication projects to help further the Zoo’s mission.
• Develops story ideas to reach a variety of audiences, highlighting Zoo news and events.
• Assists with gathering content for different platforms, including social media, newsletters, website content, and more.
• Researches current marketing trends and presents them to the Marketing team to see what trends can be included into our current strategy.
• Researches animal and plant information to help assist with social media and publication content.
• Will help proofread the Zoo’s major publications, including newsletters, TV, radio, print, social media advertising, website content, and more.
• Monitors for Zoo mentions in the community, news, and social media.
• Assists with Zoo video productions.
• Reviews and organizes media files, including extant digital content and conversion of analog media, assisting the 125th anniversary marketing plan.
• Assists with the Zoo’s ticket donation program as well as mailing radio trade tickets.
• Assists other areas of the Marketing Department as needed.

Qualifications:
• Must be available 3 days a week, including some weekends.
• Strong work ethic, excellent communication, conflict resolution, teamwork, and initiative.
• A high school diploma is required; pursuing a Marketing or Communications degree, or a degree in a related field is preferred.
• Other skills and interests included writing, social media, public relations, videography, attention to detail, and flexibility.
• Exposure to seasonal outdoor temperatures and occasional lifting of up to 30 pounds may occur.

Timeline:
The Communications Internship is not a seasonal position, and applications can be accepted anytime.

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Communciations Internship. 

Aquarium Internship

Aquarium interns are responsible for learning a majority of the work that an aquarist does, on a daily basis, such as:

  • Perform morning rounds by cleaning the exterior of exhibit windows, while checking for animal health and proper operation of systems
  • Check temperature, salinity, and pH along with other water quality parameters
  • Maintain exhibits through cleaning of rockwork, windows, water changes, filter changes, and removing debris
  • Learn to prepare and feed daily diets to various saltwater and freshwater fish, as well as sharks and penguins
  • Assist aquarists with fish acclimations, transfers, arrivals; as well as medical treatments and observations
  • Record keeping
  • Observations of animal behavior and training/enrichment programs
  • Participate in educational tours and classes

Timelines and How to Apply

There are three internship periods:

  • Spring (January-April) – Applications must be received by November 15th
  • Summer (May-August) – Applications must be received by March 15th
  • Fall (September-Dcember) – Applications must be received by July 15th

Requirements: minimum of 18 years old, and pursuing a degree in a natural science.

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Aquarium Internship. 

Kids Kingdom Animal Husbandry

THE KIDS KINGDOM INTERNSHIP PROGRAM IS ON HOLD UNTIL 2024

The Kids Kingdom Animal Husbandry Internship is designed for individuals interested in a career in animal husbandry and training to gain valuable experience. Interns will primarily be trained in the aspects of animal husbandry, with a strong emphasis on training and enrichment. The goal of this internship is to give interns a solid base of animal husbandry knowledge with a wide variety of animals including mammals, reptiles, and birds. As an intern in Kids Kingdom, you will have an opportunity to work with sea lions, river otters, beavers, owls, kangaroos, donkeys, pigs, goats, chickens, snakes, lizards, and a variety of small domesticated animals.

We require interns to work a minimum of two days a week for 12 weeks.

Timelines and How to Apply

There are three internship periods:

  • Spring (January-April) – Applications must be received by November 15th
  • Summer (May-August) – Applications must be received by March 15th
  • Fall (September-Dcember) – Applications must be received by July 15th   

Your resume and cover letter must include the following:

  • Why you are interested in an internship at the Pittsburgh Zoo’s Kids Kingdom
  • What you would like to gain from your internship
  • A list of previous internships/facilities

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Kids Kingdom Husbandry Internship. 

Water's Edge

Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium Water’s Edge interns will have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of daily husbandry of the 4 species in our AMMPA accredited marine mammal facility. These species include: polar bears, Northern sea otters, Northern elephant seals, and California sea lions.

This internship is progressive and is 13 weeks in length. Due to the nature of a progressive internship, a commitment of 13 weeks is required. Our internship is divided into 4 levels, each concentrating on a different aspect of marine mammal care while continuing to build on the intern’s responsibilities:

  • Level 1: Basic Husbandry, Marine Mammal Protocols, and Learning Water’s Edge
  • Level 2: Natural Histories of our Species and Guest Narrations
  • Level 3: Enrichment
  • Level 4: Marine Mammal Training

Intern responsibilities will encompass the skills needed to provide exceptional care for marine mammals. These skills will include morning diet preparation, kitchen/facility cleaning exceeding USDA standards, daily guest interactions, assisting with life support systems, managing daily enrichment schedules, creating novel enrichment, and assisting with animal training projects alongside of keepers. There is no guarantee of any direct animal interaction and any interaction will be at the discretion of animal care staff.

Prospective interns who possess an Open Water Scuba Diver Certification from an accredited dive association (e.g. PADI, NAUI, SSI) also have the opportunity to apply for our Volunteer Dive Program. Please also state in your resume/cover letter that you are interested in participating in our Volunteer Dive Program.

Timelines and How to Apply

Applicants should submit their resume, cover letter, and letter of recommendation by the deadlines listed below for each session.

Application Period:

  • Spring (January-April) – Applications must be received by November 15th
  • Summer (May-August) – Applications must be received by March 15th
  • Fall (Sepetember-December) – Applications must be received by July 15th

Requirements: Minimum of 18 years old and pursuing a degree in a natural science.

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Water’s Edge Internship. 

Conservation Education

The Conservation Education Department of the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium provides education opportunities for approximately 300,000 people annually through programs at the zoo and in the community.

Animal Ambassador Interns will have the opportunity to work hands-on with the Conservation Education department’s animal care team as we maintain the zoo’s collection of over 50 animal ambassadors that participate in programs for public education. Intern responsibilities include observation, feeding, cleaning, record keeping, and animal handling/presentations. In addition, Interns will have lessons on public speaking/presentation, lesson development, animal training and enrichment, zoo careers, and guest service. Interns will also have limited opportunities to observe and assist with education programs.

Timelines and How to Apply

Application Period:

  • Spring (January-April) – Applications must be received by November 15th
  • Summer (May-August) – Applications must be received by March 15th
  • Fall (September-Dcember) – Applications must be received by July 15th

To apply, please submit a resumé, cover letter, and letter of recommendation. The cover letter should include:

  • Why you are interested in an internship at the Pittsburgh Zoo
  • What you would like to gain from an internship
  • What intern opportunities interest you

Minimum Requirements:

Interns must be available for at least two 8-hour days per week for at least 10 weeks.  A TB test and Background Checks are also required.

 

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Conservation Internship. 

Giraffe/Ungulate/Elephants

 Responsibilities Include: 

  • Observing of animals for disease, injuries, unusual behavior, pregnancy, etc.
  • Reporting observations to the appropriate parties and noting on the report sheet
  • Preparing and distributing food and water
  • Being exposed to training and enrichment programs
  • Assisting  in veterinary procedures
  • Collecting biological specimens
  • Assisting in animal restraint procedures
  • Maintaining proper environmental conditions for the animals including: cleaning and disinfecting animal enclosures
  • Answering visitor questions and narrating animal encounters
  • Arriving at scheduled time and performing morning observations on five elephants with keeper present (taking note of any irregularities, ie. injuries, not drinking/not eating, any unusual behavior)
  • Interacting with visitors and educating them on our program
  • Observing elephants throughout the day in various scenarios, (ie. herd interactions, training with keepers, environment)
  • Participating in educational tours and classes

 Dates:

  • Spring (January-April) – Applications must be received by November 15th
  • Summer (May-August) – Applications must be received by March 15th
  • Fall (September-Dcember) – Applications must be received by July 15th

 

Requirements:

Minimum of 18 years old, and pursuing a degree in natural science.

 

To Apply:

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Giraffe/Ungulate Internship. 

International Conservation Center (ICC)

 Location: The International Conservation Center is located an hour and a half southeast of Pittsburgh in Fairhope, PA. There is no on-site housing available.

Responsibilities Include: 

  • Elephant interns are responsible for learning and assisting with the majority of the work that an elephant keeper performs on a daily basis, such as:
    • Preparing daily diets and daily training food
    • Assisting in maintaining proper environmental conditions for elephants including: cleaning and disinfecting enclosures
    • Interacting with visitors and educating them on our program
    • Observing elephants throughout the day in various scenarios, (ie. herd interactions, training with keepers, environment)
    • Participating in educational tours and classes

 Dates:

  • Spring (January-April) – Applications must be received by November 15th
  • Summer (May-August) – Applications must be received by March 15th
  • Fall (September-Dcember) – Applications must be received by July 15th

 

Requirements:

Minimum of 18 years old, and pursuing a degree in natural science.

 

To Apply:

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the ICC Internship. 

The Islands (Mammals)

 Responsibilities Include: 

The Mammal interns at the Islands area of the Pittburgh Zoo & Aquarium will have an opportunity to work wth some unique endangered species, such as clouded leopards, Visayan warty pigs, and siamangs. They may also have a chance to work with other species in the Mammal department, while helping keepers in the Jungle Odyssey section.

Intern responsibilities will include learning how to work closely with these endangered animals, assisting keepers in the general husbandry of the animal areas, assisting in the Zoo’s enrichment programs, engaging with visitors about the conservation of animals, and learning basic concepts of operant conditioning practices.

This internship is a 12-week, two-day-a-week course. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and enrolled in school for an animal-related degree.

Timeline for application:
Spring (January-April) – Applications must be received by November 15th
Summer (May-August) – Applications must be received by March 15th
Fall (September-December) – Applications must be received by July 15th.

To Apply:

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Islands Internship. 

Registrar

 Responsibilities Include: 

The Registar Intern will support the functions of the Zoo Registrar. They will have the opportunity to work hands-on with the Registrar in maintaining over 100,000 animal records. The intern will learn about animal permits, records, transactions, and transports. They will learn the animal records keeping software programs used at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium, and will learn how to code animal data into those programs. They will learn about transaction documents and how to prepare them, how to create transport plans, how to coordinate an animal transport, what animal permits are needed, and how to apply for them.

Qualifications:
– Responsible, focused individual with outstanding organizational skills, and a high level of accuracy.
– Detail-oriented
– Basic computer data entry skills
– General animal behavior knowledge
– Excellent writing skills

Timeline:
The Registrar Internship is not a seasonal position, and applications can be accepted anytime.

 

To Apply:

To apply, please fill out the application through the APPLY NOW button above. Please specify you are applying for the Registrar Internship.