Animal Management A.A.S.

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The Program (HEGIS Code 5403)

This degree program is designed to train students for employment as zookeepers, zoo educators, or for other animal care related positions. It can also prepare program graduates for further studies in biology or zoology. The program provides students with a realistic perspective of the duties and job of zookeeper by offering hands-on experience in domestic and exotic animal management through clinical laboratories each semester. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse is the primary clinical site and provides students with the opportunity to work alongside zookeepers, veterinarians, curators, educators, and administrators. Experiences at other animal care facilities provide a broad learning experience. Course work focuses on zoo animal management, but the care and management of domestic species is also used to illustrate the fundamental principles of animal husbandry and provide additional hands-on experience. Internships at other animal facilities are required as part of the curriculum. Additional general education courses add breadth to the program.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from the Animal Management program with an A.A.S. degree will meet the following learning outcomes:

  • Obtain a broad understanding of animal care theory, including animal husbandry, exhibitry, terminology, behavior, training, genetics, reproduction, nutrition, conservation, and research;
  • Gain valuable hands-on experience working with domestic and exotic animals;
  • Be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

Students planning to enter JCC’s Animal Management program should have developed strong written and analytical skills. High school preparation should include three or more years of math and English. Some students may require skill building before entering the program.

Career Opportunities

To learn more about the Animal Management program and see what students in the program are doing, go to the official Animal Management website. This site has information such as frequently asked questions, a list of upcoming events and more!

Zoo and aquarium employees have the opportunity to educate the public about the critical need for the conservation of wildlife and wild land. This responsibility assures an interesting and rewarding career, but the profession requires more than a commitment to conservation. It requires hard work and an education.

Animal Keepers are directly responsible for the care of animals and their enclosures. Job duties and titles vary by employment location, but there are several responsibilities all keepers have in common: they clean enclosures, prepare diets, and monitor behavior of the animals. Keepers feed, water, groom, and exercise animals. They also provide the animals with enrichment activities. Animal caretakers must be alert to behavioral changes that could indicate illness or injury. They sometimes assist in research studies and give interpretive lectures to the public.

Much of the work may be physically demanding. Keepers generally work outdoors in all kinds of weather. Animals require attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most full-time keepers work about forty hours per week, some work fifty hours per week or more. It takes a special kind of dedication to provide care for captive animals.

In spite of the odd hours and hard work, keeper jobs are at a premium and the rewards are great. Competition is fierce, but the job outlook is good as opportunities continue to expand. Applicants with educational credentials coupled with hands-on experience and skill will enjoy enhanced employment opportunities, particularly if they are willing to explore job availabilities throughout the country.

The Animal Management degree may lead to employment in public and private zoos, aquariums, animal attractions, boarding kennels, and other animal care facilities. The degree can also serve as a stepping stone for study in bachelor degree programs in biology or zoology. Salaries for zoo and aquarium employees vary depending on the institution and its location. Institutions located in metropolitan areas generally offer higher salaries. An animal keeper’s salary can range from minimum wage to more than $30,000 a year, depending on skills and tenure.

This program does not prepare students for the Veterinary Technician profession.

Transfer Information

Graduates planning to continue their education can focus on one of several baccalaureate degrees including, but not limited to, zoo management and environmental studies. The animal management program provides valuable experience for any individual entering an animal related career. However, careful transfer planning is recommended to maximize transfer credit. Clinical and seminar courses are unique to this program and may not transfer to other schools.

Procedures for Admission to the Program

Completed supplemental applications for admission into the Animal Management program will be reviewed starting in February. In the event there are spaces available, additional applications will be reviewed in May and again in August until the class is full. Applicants for admission to the Animal Management program must meet the admission standards established by the College. All applications will be considered competitively. Academic preparation, experience, and motivation are considered by the Animal Management Admissions Committee. When there are more qualified students than space in the class, the Animal Management Admissions Committee will start a waiting list of qualified students. Students on the waiting list are notified of their acceptance into the program as space becomes available in the class. At the end of the first week of classes in the fall semester, the waiting list is dissolved.

An applicant for admission to the Animal Management Program must at minimum:

  • Complete the Jefferson Community College Application for Admission and the Animal Management Supplemental Application.
  • Be a high school graduate or have an equivalency diploma. Applicants who are not high school graduates or have not graduated from a recognized high school must meet JCC’s Admission Requirements.
  • Submit high school transcripts, GED test scores, and/or college transcripts.
  • College Placement Test (CPT) placement at the MTH 098 level or higher or have successfully completed MTH 090 prior to the first semester of Animal Management.
  • CPT placement at the ENG 100 level or higher or have successfully completed ENG 099 prior to the first semester of Animal Management.
  • CPT placement at CLS 101 level or no reading required.
  • All prerequisites must be completed prior to start of the Animal Management Program.

Sequential Nature and Continuation in the Program

Animal Management and biology courses are sequential in nature and build upon previous courses. Additionally, they are only offered once a year. For this reason, students must begin the sequence of AMG courses in the fall. Students not meeting the academic requirements for admission to the Animal Management Program (requiring skill building in English, math or science) will need to complete additional coursework and reapply to the Program the following year.

Students academic program requirements include a grade of “C” or higher in the applied animal management courses (AMG 114, AMG 116, AMG 126, AMG 216 and AMG 226), and the initial, general college-level biology course (equivalent to BIO 111 or higher). Students not meeting this requirement will be considered unsuccessful, will be unable to progress in the animal management curriculum, and will need to reapply to the program for the following academic year.

Readmission to the Animal Management Program

Students must apply for readmission to the Animal Management Program by submitting an Animal Management Program supplemental application. The deadline for re-applying students to submit an application is the same as for first-time applicants.

Once a student has been unsuccessful in the Animal Management Program, s/he may be readmitted only once.

Any student who seeks readmission to the Animal Management Program must meet program requirements in effect at the date of re-entry.

Readmission is subject to approval of the animal management faculty.

Except for the circumstances specified above, animal management students are governed by general College regulations regarding academic standing.


Degree Requirements (Effective Fall 2012) Credit Hours
Animal Management Requirements (25 Credit Hours)
AMG 114: Domestic Animal Industries1 2
AMG 115: Zoo 1: Evolution of Zoos 1
AMG 116: Zoo Clinical 1 1
AMG 118: Animal Ethics & Welfare 1
AMG 125: Zoo 2: Record Keeping & Regulations 1
AMG 126: Zoo Clinical 2 2
AMG 205: Behavioral Husbandry 1
AMG 215: Zoo 3: Exhibit Design & Maintenance 1
AMG 216: Zoo Clinical 3 2
AMG 220: Zoo Conservation 2
AMG 225: Zoo 4: Action Project Experience 1
AMG 226: Zoo Clinical 4 2
AMG 250: Introduction to Veterinary Science1 2
AMG 275: Animal Management Internship 12 3
AMG 276: Animal Management Internship 22 3
Mathematics & Science Requirements (22-33 Credit Hours)
BIO: Advised Elective3
BIO 121: Animal Nutrition
BIO 122: Aquarium Science 2
BIO 217: Vertebrate Biology 1  4
BIO 218: Vertebrate Biology 2 4
BIO 223: Animal Behavior 3
MTH 144: Elementary Statistics or higher   3-4
Liberal Arts Requirements (12 Credit Hours)
STA 151: Public Speaking 3
ENG 101: Research and Composition1 3
Social Science Elective4 3
ENG 102: Literature and Composition
     or ENG 218: Technical and Professional Writing
Computer Information Systems Requirements (3 Credit Hours)  
CIS 110: Introduction to Computing with Microcomputers 3
Liberal Arts Elective5 3
Total 65-66

1 Course will transfer into Canton Veterinary Technician Program
2 AMG 275 & AMG 276 Internships can be done in Semester 2, Summer Semester or Semester 3
3 Chosen from the following Biology courses with the assistance of an advisor: BIO 111, BIO 112, BIO 1311, BIO 132.  BIO 112 is the preferred choice
4 Recommend PSY 133 Introduction to Psychology; PSY 133 will transfer to Canton Veterinary Technician Program
5 Recommend general education course; depending on choice, course may transfer to Canton Veterinary Technician Program


For More Information

Dr. Mark Irwin, Associate Professor of Biology

Dr. Monica LeClerc, Professor of Biology

Dr. Todd Vincent, Associate Professor of Biology

Application and Admissions Information
Office of Admissions
315-786-2277 or Toll Free 1-888-435-6522