Internships

Gain meaningful experience and basic knowledge in your primary area of study by gaining a broader view of a modern zoological park via practical hands-on experience, assisting the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s professional staff with daily operations, and completing an optional research project! Ideal for students and graduates looking to develop basic abilities, further refine advanced skills, and enhance their career goals.

All interns must pass a criminal background check. Pennsylvania residents can process their own intern/volunteer background check for free online. Cost varies for residents of other states. All Zoo internships are unpaid.

Click your preferred internship program below to learn more.

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Kids Kingdom Animal Husbandry

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. Winter work hours (Labor Day to Memorial Day) are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Summer interns (Memorial Day to Labor Day) work one day 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one day 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., so that you can learn how to both put animals on exhibit and take off exhibit.

Timelines and How to Apply

There are three internship periods:

  • Winter/Spring (January-April) – applications must be received by November 1
  • Summer (May-August) – applications must be received by March 1
  • Fall/Winter (September-December) – applications must be received by July 31    

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

Please send your cover letter, resume, and a letter of recommendation to:
Kesha Phares
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Internship Program
One Wild Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Or email kphares@pittsburghzoo.org

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 15
  • Summer (May-August) – applications must be received by March 15
  • Fall (September-December) – applications must be received by July 15 

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

To apply: submit a resume, cover letter detailing why you chose the PPG Aquarium, and an optional letter of recommendation to aquaintern@pittsburghzoo.org.

Water's Edge

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG 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 Natural Histories of our Species
  • Level 2: Public Speaking and Positive Guest Interactions
  • Level 3: Enrichment and Internship Project
  • 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. Volunteer drivers are a vital part of routine exhibit maintenance. Interested divers can contact the Zoo’s Dive Safety Officer, Ariella Wiener, at awiener@pittsburghzoo.org for further information. 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 an application packet with their resume, cover letter, and letter of recommendation by the deadlines listed below for each session.

Application Period:

  • Summer Internship (May-August) – applications must be received by March 1
  • Fall/Winter Internship (September-December) – applications must be received by August 1
  • Winter/Spring Internship (January-April) – applications must be received by November 1

Submit application packets via mail or email to:
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Water’s Edge Internship Program
One Wild Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
watersedgeintern@pittsburghzoo.org

Conservation Education

The Conservation Education Department of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG 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:

  • Fall Internship (September-December) – July 1 until filled
  • Spring Internship (January-May) – October 1 until filled
  • Summer Internship (May-August) – January 1-February 28

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, contact:
Beth Inches
binches@pittsburghzoo.org
412-365-2526