Why should I choose Jefferson Community College?

Animal Management at Jefferson Community College is a unique, affordable College degree that provides a mix of academic and hands-on experience. JCC partners with several major zoos to give students a broad perspective of the zoo field. It’s fun too!

There are only a handful of schools that offer zoo related training as part of a recognized 2-year Associates of Applied Science Degree. JCC’s focus is on the careers of zoo keeper and zoo interpreter/educator; although the training will also be of value to students entering other animal fields.

The cost of college is a major concern to most students. JCC is proud to be the most affordable choice in the North Country. Financial support is also available and we encourage you to apply.

Located just 30 minutes south of the Canadian Border, JCC is within hours of AZA accredited zoos in Toronto, Montreal, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Binghamton. During the course of the program, students will experience many of these zoos.

Jefferson Community College is also located only minutes away from the Army's Fort Drum. This military base is home of the 10th Mountain Division (light infantry). Both Jefferson Community College and the Greater Watertown area provide a very supportive environment for military families.

JCC is a great way to start or finish your academic career. We often have students join Animal Management after completing a 4-yr bachelor’s degree or start their academic career with us before transferring to schools such as Syracuse’s school of Environmental Science and Forestry or veterinary technician programs.

JCC’s Animal Management program provides the opportunity to work directly with not only zoo keepers, but also curators and directors. During the program, JCC’s faculty strive to develop individual relationships with each of the students and have a great desire to see students succeed. The faculty include two biology PhDs and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).

How much is tuition?

Jefferson Community College offers a quality education and affordable tuition. It is proud to have one of the lowest tuitions of the SUNY colleges. The cost of attending Jefferson, including tuition, fees, and books, is approximately $3500 per year. Over 85% of our students receive financial assistance! Students are encouraged to apply.

Housing? I am not from Watertown. Does JCC provide dormitories?

JCC does not have dormitories, but there are neighboring apartments that offer special academic year (9-month) leases to Jefferson students.  The apartments are within walking distance to campus, public transit and groceries.  For more information, please contact JCC Admissions at 786-2277.

What do I need to become a zoo keeper?

Passion is, perhaps, the most important attribute for a career working with animals. However, you will also need hands-on experience caring for exotic species and a formal education.

To gain experience, consider volunteering at your local zoo, farm, or animal shelter. It is never too early to start. Many places rely on volunteers to operate and will welcome assistance. While helping them, you are also gaining experience, building your resume, and establishing professional references.

Different zoos have different criteria for employee education when hiring. Some prefer 4-year degrees, while others prefer practical 2-year degrees, like those offered by JCC. Our program is an excellent way to gain hands-on experience and begin your education. We encourage our students to consider transfer to neighboring 4-year colleges for biology or zoo degrees. To get the best zoo keeping positions and progress up the zoo’s hierarchy to become curator or director, a 4-year bachelors' degree is recommended.

What are the Animal Management “clinicals”?

The clinical portion of the program is designed to provide students with broad practical experience and unique learning opportunities within the animal field. The program has a special focus on zoo animal management with much of the clinical portion being based at Syracuse ’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo and The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, Watertown’s zoological park. Students will have the opportunity to visit and gain experience at other animal facilities as well. Clinical courses are designed to function as a hands-on workplace assignment in conjunction with traditional forms of instruction. As such, these courses will require the same dedication and hard work that would be required in other job positions. Emphasis is placed on professionalism and teamwork.

Does JCC provide transportation to Syracuse for clinical classes?

Yes, JCC provides transportation to Syracuse on clinical rotation days. Students must meet on campus by the designated departure time.