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Internships and Externships

The Saint Louis Zoo provides college students, recent graduates and individuals with prior college coursework an opportunity to learn about the Zoo's zoological operations while obtaining valuable, hands-on work experience and an understanding of the Zoo's role in research and conservation. Over 100 interns/externs contribute to the Zoo’s mission each year!

Do you want to:

  • Have a valuable, hands-on work experience?
  • Learn directly from Zoo professionals?
  • Make a difference for endangered species and conservation issues?

A variety of internships and externships are available:

  • There are over 30 departments to choose from, in areas that include animal management and non-animal related fields!
  • Additionally, Veterinary Preceptor opportunities are offered to students in the clinical year of a Doctoral program in Veterinary Medicine and are receiving credit from an accredited institution of higher learning. Veterinary Preceptors will shadow veterinary staff and receive exposure to all aspects of zoo-based veterinary medicine. Learn more about these opportunities on the Saint Louis Zoo Veterinary Preceptorship page.

Required Materials


  • Winter/Spring Semester: November 1
  • Summer: March 1
  • Fall Semester: July 1

Frequently Asked Questions

Interns receive college credit for their experience, while externs do not. If the student’s college offers credit for internships, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for the credit. We require a minimum of 20 hours per week for a minimum of six weeks for internships, and a minimum of 15 hours per week for a minimum of six weeks for externships.

  • Minimum age requirement is 18.
  • Applicants need not be currently enrolled in college/university, but prior college coursework is required.
  • Minimum of 20 hours per week for a minimum of six weeks for internships (for college credit).
  • Minimum of 15 hours per week for a minimum of six weeks for externships (non-credit).
  • All positions are unpaid with no housing provided.
  • All individuals completing an internship or externship in an animal area will be asked to submit a negative TB test result by the start of their internship/externship. If you have been tested within the past six months of your acceptance, you do not need to be retested. However, you must still submit results to Volunteer Services.
  • All successful candidates will be required to submit to a background check. If network access is required for the position, candidates will also be required to submit to a drug test.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for interns/externs in these areas: Education, Jungle of the Apes, Primates, Research, Sea Lion Sound, Veterinary Preceptorship and Veterinary Technician.

No. All intern/extern positions are unpaid with no housing provided.

Interns/externs can be employed on a part-time basis by the Zoo during their internship/externship; however, they cannot intern/extern and work in the same area.

We do not accept internship/externship applications after the posted deadline. We do accept interns and externs each spring, summer and fall, so we encourage you to apply for a future semester.

Application materials are collected by Volunteer Services. Volunteer Services does not release submitted applications to hiring managers until the application deadline. After that date, applications are accessible to the hiring managers of the preferred areas indicated on your application. Qualified applicants will be interviewed and selected by curators or department managers. Processing time can take up to 8 weeks from the application deadline, as your application may be shared with several program areas (not only your first choice). All applicants will ultimately be notified of a decision by Volunteer Services.

Due to the volume of applications, emails and phone calls to Volunteer Services are discouraged as we are unable to check on application statuses. Thank you for your understanding.

There are over 30 departments to choose from!

Questions? Email us!