Animal Care Specialist (Temporary - 3 months)

John G Shedd Aquarium

Chicago, Illinois

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details Hourly
Deadline Aug 26, 2024
Required Experience 2 - 6 years


The Animal Care Specialist is responsible for assisting in the overall care of animals in the Oceanarium department.  The department consists of teams that care for Cetaceans, Penguins and Otters, Sea lions, and Animal Ambassadors.  The Animal Care Specialist is a supportive role that focuses on learning the skillset for caring for animals, while also providing an educational experience for the visitor.  While in this role, staff will learn about the animals under their care and the basic science of operant conditioning.   

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. 

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission, and values.   
  • Assist in ensuring the health and well-being of the animal collection 
  • Demonstrates a commitment to good relations with fellow staff members, visitors, volunteers, community leaders, and contractors by promoting positive attitudes, goodwill, and cooperation, and providing high standards of service 
  • Maintain a clean and healthy environment for the animals, staff, and aquarium guests.   
  • Clean the kitchens, utensils, floors, windows, pools, offices, laundry, and any other area or item utilized in the Oceanarium department. 
  • Prepare diets for all the animals, which include handling fish, thawing, sorting, weighing, cutting, formula preparation, vitamin administration, heavy lifting, and frequent exposure to cold temperatures. 
  • Interact with guests daily by answering guest questions about the animals and the facility.   
  • Perform various tasks including evening functions, special employee training, and seminars, and special maintenance or construction projects. 
  • Attend regularly scheduled meetings for intra-departmental communication which include meetings before each animal session or presentation, animal group meetings, staff meetings, and additional meetings, as needed. 
  • Maintain detailed records of all animal interactions and observations which include diet, vitamins, medication, behavioral notes, medical notes, animal weights, physical observations, graphs, temperatures, and any other records deemed important to the care of the animals, the facility, or daily staff operation.  Flush this out or add another bullet that is about the observation piece 
  • Engage in regular interactions with some of the animals under the guidance and direction of experienced staff including training sessions, physical exams, public presentations, and play sessions. 
  • Embrace a flexible work schedule that includes nights, weekends, holidays, and non-standardized hours.  
  • Work in an environment with daily exposure to cold salt water. 
  • Daily lifting over 40 pounds, periodic lifting up to 50 pounds. 
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

QUALIFICATIONS:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. 

Education: A Bachelor’s degree in Zoology, Biology, Life Sciences, or a related area is preferred.  Equivalent experience will be considered instead of a degree. 


  • Animal experience is preferred; including volunteering, internship, or other animal care experience.   
  • Experience with taxa the Oceanarium team cares for is beneficial.   


  • Open water diving certification is strongly preferred.  

Other Skills and Characteristics:  

  • Competent swimmer.   
  • Ability to work well with others in a diverse team environment and communicate proficiently with colleagues and guests.   
  • Written and verbal communication skills.  
  • Able to receive and apply feedback.  
  • Demonstrates commitment to growth. 
  • Ability to work holidays, nights, and weekends.  
  • Computerized accounting system
  • Microsoft Office, including Microsoft Excel 


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. 

This person may be exposed to: 

  • Low noise 
  • Moderate Noise 
  • Cold Water 
  • Saltwater 

Reasonable Accommodations:

Shedd Aquarium is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodations for any part of the employment process, please email us at humanresources@sheddaquarium.org.

We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.


Please apply directly through the job link - https://sheddaquarium.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a23xwy5gmppi

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Wildlife
Tags Aquarium