I have the best job in the world
Hello. My name is Catie, and I’m a member of the Elephant Care Team. I’d like to tell you a little bit more about our profession as animal care professionals. One of the most common questions we’re asked is “how do I get a job like that?” This question often comes after a guest has experienced one of our elephant training demonstrations, joined one of our Keeper Talks, or learned more about our care of the African elephants Kelly and Tara. The simplest answer is that every animal care professional has a different path they took to get where we are today. But today, I’m going to tell you about my story and the path I decided to take to land my dream job as a member of the Elephant Care Team.
I attended Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, where I obtained a degree in biology. During college, I focused a lot of my research and academic reports on elephants and conservation. I knew I wanted to work with elephants in some capacity, but I didn’t know exactly how to get there. Right after graduation, I applied for internships at various zoos all over the country. My first internship, which was at another zoo, was working with small primates, and after a day working there, I knew that becoming a zoological animal care professional was my new dream. After I finished that internship, I started another at a second zoo. There, I worked alongside the elephant and rhino teams, and my passion for elephants and zoological animal care continued to grow every day, as did the knowledge and experience I would need to be able to be in a position to apply for a full-time job. I knew I loved elephants, but I also missed my hometown of Atlanta. So, I decided to apply to become a member of the Elephant Care Team at Zoo Atlanta, and the rest is history. I now have the best job in the world, and I work with the coolest elephants.
Basically, everyone’s path is different. However, the one thing we all share is our passion for animals and conservation. So, if you aspire to a career in this field, my advice to you is to never give up, keep gaining the specialized experience and expertise that is so vital to our field, and keep working with animals.
Keeper I, Mammals