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Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate

Learn to understand animal behaviour and the care of animals.

This terrific certificate covers the essentials of zoo keeping including:

  • Animal Health and Care

  • Nutrition and Feeding

  • Research and Conservation

  • Captive Breeding

  • Behaviour Management

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Study Zoo Keeping by Distance Learning.

Study Zoo Keeping with ACS - lay the foundation for lifelong learning, network with the industry and discover the diverse range of opportunities to work with wildlife.

What's it like working with wildlife?

Working in wildlife education and interpretation can be a very rewarding and inspiring career choice. People working with wildlife always appear to ‘love’ their job even though parts of it may be physically demanding and sometimes dirty work. Being in contact with wildlife and having the opportunity to educate others on the conservation importance of these animals is for some people a dream job.

What training do I need?

In order to work in the Wildlife Education and Interpretation sector, you do not necessarily require a degree or qualification, although it does help. Many people decide they want a career change and start volunteering with wildlife parks or national parks by guiding tours or caring for wildlife. This is an excellent way to get a foot in the door and create a network of contacts within the industry.

After gaining skills and knowledge through volunteering, you may end up obtaining paid work. If you wish to progress further once having obtained a job in this field, studying for a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree may be necessary. For example, most people working in wildlife parks have some kind of qualification in zoo keeping or wildlife handling and care.



Course Duration: 600 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Modules: The course comprises 3 Core Modules, and 3 Elective Modules.  Students are to complete 6 modules in total.


Students are to complete the following Core Modules:

Animal Health Care VAG100

Learn to identify and describe common signs of ill health and diseases in animals, and the appropriate types of treatment for these.  This 12 lesson module looks at the broader aspects of animal welfare and control as well as codes of practices and the services provided by veterinarians.  The module includes preventative health care, as well as considering routine health treatments (such as de-sexing and castration).  It is concluded with a lesson on animal rehabilitation and recovery.

Zoo Keeping BEN208

This 9 lesson module is looks at the keeping of animals in captivity, in zoos, safari parks and the like.  Students will learn about how zoos have developed and how their designs have changed.  Context is provided by considering what the functions of zoos are, the environmental requirements of captive animals balanced against the requirements to provide habitat and enclosure designs which also enable effective human viewing of specimens.  The module includes lessons which look at animal behaviours, interactions with zoo keepers, the health and nutrition requirements of captive animals as well as the health and safety principles which need to be followed.  The module concludes with a PBL project on Environmental Enrichment, where students will be able to consider and apply what they have learned through their studies. 

Animal Behaviour BAG203

This 8 lesson module teaches students to understand the motivations of behaviour in animals.  It focuses on the behaviour of animals and how the knowledge of this can be applied to handling, training and managing animals.  Students will study the influences of genetics, perceptions, and the environment on animals’ behaviour, understanding also the elements of learned and unlearned behaviour.  


Students are to select 3 modules from the following: -

Marine Studies I


Vertebrate Zoology

Animal Husbandry III (Feed and Nutrition)

Diagnosing Animal Diseases

Marine Studies II

Natural Health Care for Animals

Wildlife Conservation 

Wildlife Management 

Animal Breeding


Each of the above modules can be taken as a stand alone course if you prefer.

As well as passing all assignments on the course, you are required to complete six examinations. Exams can be taken at a time and location to suit you.  You can find more information on how exams work here.  

Animal Welfare Indicators

There are certain things that provide an indication to zookeepers that an animal’s welfare has been compromised. Some of these indicators are subtle and may only be detected by observations made over time. Others may be more obvious. A skilled zookeeper will always be observing the animal populations in their care, and noticing when such indicators appear. These indicators include: 

  • Reduced longevity

  • Reduced ability to grow or breed

  • Body damage (injury)

  • Immunosuppression

  • Physiological attempts to cope

  • Behavioural attempts to cope

  • Increased susceptibility to disease

  • Behavioural pathology (e.g. stereotypies, apathy, self-mutilation).

Observing behavioural indicators of animal welfare is the preferred method used in zoos as it is non-invasive. There are four major behavioural indicators that can indicate the wellbeing of a particular animal.

  • Social interactions, problem solving and observing how the animal learns can provide indication of their state of mind

  • Developing abnormal behaviours can show that the animals’ biological processes cannot function properly in their environment.

  • Changes in the individual’s nature can be seen if the animal is unable to display behaviours that would come naturally in the wild

  • Observing behaviours in conjunction with ethogram information and observations of other individuals of the same species can also be indicators of an animal’s well being.

Detection of a potential problem may not always warrant action immediately; but suspect animals should be watched more closely and a veterinary professional should be consulted when they persist.  



Study alone can never guarantee career success, but a good education is an important starting point.

Success in a career depends upon many things. A course like this is an excellent starting point because it provides a foundation for continued learning, and the means of understanding and dealing with issues you encounter in the workplace.



  • Our courses are written and taught by experienced professionals with real world experience, so you know you can expect a high quality of teaching and support.

  • You can start the course at any time and study at your own pace.

  • Fit your studies around your own busy lifestyle - we provide full tutor support for all the time you are studying.

  • Study where you want to - eLearning or online study methods offer the flexibility for you to determine where and when you study.



If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us - connect with our expert tutors, use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE


Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Marius Erasmus Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyExplore how animals think and comare how this differs between different animals (and humans)
Marine AnimalsWith colour photos splashed throughout, this Marine Animals e-book is designed to provide a guide for some of the more common animals found in marine ecosystems around the world. Learn about the creatures hidden by the other 70% of the earth's surface. Explore more...
Animal HealthUnderstand animal health issues, diseases and how identify and manage illnesses and injuries. Animals can become sick for many different reasons -diseases caused by infections, injuries, poisoning, genetic disorders, poor nutrition and other things.
WeedsThis book helps you understand different types of weeds, and how to control them. Many of the more commonly occurring weeds around the world are both illustrated and described.