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Internship FAQs


My degree is not related to animals or science, but I really want to work with animals. Will I be considered?
Many individuals come to the zoo searching for a change in career path. We welcome such applicants if they demonstrate a desire and passion for the area in which they are applying in addition to outside experience in the field of animal care through volunteering, research, previous paid positions or internships. You may still be considered.

I know the program is competitive. What time of year is the best to apply for a Keeper internship to improve my chances for selection?
Due to the high influx of college students during the summer months, our summer term is most competitive. If you are able to apply for a fall or winter term, there will be fewer applicants.

I have never worked with animals before but really want to be a zookeeper. Should I apply for a keeper internship?
Our zookeeper internships are very competitive. Though we do not require a specific amount of hands-on animal experience to be considered, you should demonstrate some interest in working with animals either through volunteer work, research, previous paid positions or internships. HRZ has a volunteer program that could be applied for if interested before trying for the internship program.

When is the best time to apply for summer internships?
Summer internship positions are generally posted in December of each year and applications are due in early February. Check the deadline chart for details.

What is the best method for application? is the best options. If emailing, pdf format is best.

I have already graduated college, may I still apply?
Yes, for most experiences you may apply even after you have finished your college degree.

To whom should my references address my letters?
Many individuals review each application. General salutations such as “to whom it may concern” or “intern selection committee” will suffice.

What is a "professional letter of recommendation"?
We suggest you request letters of recommendation from individuals who have known you in a professional capacity. Some examples of this include teachers and supervisors (either from paid or volunteer experience). Letters from friends, significant others and family members are generally discouraged. References should include the length and capacity in which they have worked with you and their direct contact information should we need more details. Signed letters on letterhead are preferred but not required. 

Can my references send letters directly to you?
Emails at are preferred.

I have requested many letters of recommendation. Should I include all of them in my application?
Please only include the materials requested in our application guidelines. Any additional materials (extra letters of reference, photos, certificates, etc.) will be pulled from your file prior to consideration.

Do I have a better chance of being selected if I submit my application right away?
No, all applicants who submit complete application materials prior to the deadline will be considered at the same level.

Should I send my application all together or are separate pieces okay?
Either option is acceptable. If you are requesting letters of reference and/or transcripts to be sent separately, please request that they arrive prior to 5pm CST of the deadline date.

I think I submitted everything, but can I contact you to check?
You may email to verify that your materials have been received. Please note that responses from staff may be delayed based on number of applicants/requests.

Do I need to submit an official transcript?
We only require copies of unofficial transcripts for your application. If you are selected for an opportunity, it is at that point we require official transcripts.

I do not live by Henson Robinson Zoo, can I do a phone interview if selected?
Most zookeeper positions require an in person interview. Many non-zookeeper positions are open to scheduling phone interviews. If you are unable to complete an in-person interview, please let us know.

How will I hear if I have been selected?
All applicants are notified of the selection process through email. If email is not provided, you will be notified through postal mail or phone.

I see that I am required to obtain certain immunizations if selected for an opportunity. Will HRZ pay for this?
No. All immunization costs are up to the candidate.

I prefer not to receive immunizations, will you accept a waiver from my physician?
No. All immunizations requested are for your safety as well as the safety of our animals and guests. Waivers will not be accepted.

Can I be an intern for six or more months?
Most of our internships are on a 12 week/40 hour per week schedule. If you are placed in a non-keeper internship that is flexible with schedules, you may be able to extend the length of your internship. However, no intern is permitted to serve in an internship for more than 480 hours.

I work/go to school; can I request to have certain days off?
Most of our internships are on a 12 week/40 hour per week schedule and are not flexible around work/school schedules. Others are slightly more flexible. If you have specific scheduling requirements, it is best to bring this up in an interview if you are selected for one.

I live far away from the zoo. Will you provide housing, transportation, reimbursement or funds for meals if I am selected?
Unfortunately we are unable to provide any of these items for our Internship Program participants. All participants are responsible for finding their own accommodations and transportation. No compensation will be given to interns by HRZ, but we do recommend looking into your college programs that may offer you stipends during your internship perhaps as a work study program.

I loved my internship, may I do another?
In order to make opportunities available to as many individuals as possible, we do not permit participants to complete more than one type of the same internship (i.e.; you may not serve as an Education intern twice). You may apply for internships in different areas of the zoo if you meet the requirements and are sincerely interested in the areas. If you wish to apply for a separate internship, you will need to submit a new application.

I applied for a position but was not accepted. Can I apply again?
You are encouraged to apply again for an opportunity if you were not selected the first time. If you are applying for the next following term, just notify by email and your application will be rolled over. We also have a volunteer program that you may be interested in applying for in the meantime.


Fall Term

Oct. to Dec.

Application deadline: Jul 31, 2020

Interview window: Aug 2020

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