Jobs in America

Saltwater Aquarist

Blank Park Zoo
Des Moines
High School 2 Year

The salary not being exposed by the employer means that you can negotiate based on the company's approach to employee leadership and professional development. To qualify for this job, you must have at least 24 months of work experience in the same field. The job vacancy for the Saltwater Aquarist role was posted on July 9, 2024, and it will end on August 6, 2024. While the job is located in Des Moines, individuals who meet the specified qualifications from other regions are also encouraged to apply. To be considered for this job vacancy, it is necessary to have passed High School. Blank Park Zoo is looking for internship employees. The work station is located at Des Moines , IA , Des Moines , IA.

Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa is a non-profit organization and home to more than 2,800 animals representing nearly 240 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, and is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research and recreation.

Saltwater Aquarist

FLSA Classification: Nonexempt
Salary Grade: Starting at $17.75/hr
Reports to: Aquatics Supervisor
Department: Animal Care

Position Purpose

The Aquatics team cares for a diverse group of animals including fish, invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles. Qualified candidates should have a wide-ranging animal husbandry background with an emphasis on SCUBA diving, life support system operation and saltwater fish husbandry. The qualified candidate will be an outgoing and dynamic person that works well individually and as part of a team. The selected candidate for this position will be expected to learn and work all routines in the department.  

Essential Functions

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

  • Preparing diets and distributing food according to feeding schedules.
  • Cleaning and performing routine maintenance and minor repair of animal exhibits and holding areas to assure the health of animals and the presentation of the species in an attractive environment. Maintain water quality to keep aquatic animals in healthy condition.
  • Assisting with administration of medications and treatments according to established procedure and veterinary instructions. Provide assistance in handling or restraining animals in accordance with established safety procedures as necessary to ensure animal welfare.
  • Mentoring animal care interns and/or volunteers.
  • Observing animals and evaluating behavior to determine physical and behavioral health and well-being.
  • Assisting with animal acquisition, acclimation and quarantine.
  • Serving as a customer service liaison through daily contacts with visitors providing information and answering questions.
  • Involved in professional networking, public relations, media contacts, public speaking and assistance in development and fundraising activities.
  • Participate in training programs in order to develop and maintain desired husbandry behaviors.
  • Comfortably work with venomous and dangerous animals.
  • Complete daily record keeping.
  • Cover otter, fish, reptile, amphibian and invertebrate exhibits and holding areas when needed.
  • Other duties assigned by Area Supervisor.


  • Resourceful – Understanding of or can research all applicable topics as they relate to modern zoological management, operations of an attraction and customer service.
  • Flexible – Ability to handle a flexible workload with a variety of assignments while also maintain composure in an environment that can be stressful.
  • Independent – Must be able to operate independently, exercise initiative and demonstrate capacity for detail and follow-up.
  • Positive – Must be a positive, effective team member and be able to establish professional working relationships.
  • Communicator – Communicates clearly, both verbal and written. Effective listening skills.
  • Critical Thinker – Ability to make decisions while under pressure or solve complex problems that arise daily.
  • Innovative – Ability to propose solutions to areas of concern as related to animal care.
  • Efficient – Ability to complete task in a thorough but quick manner.
  • Customer-oriented – Always exercises professional customer service skills. Interacts with m many different types of people and situations.
  • Team Player – Collaborates with area supervisor and team to achieve common husbandry goals.

Supervisory/Management Responsibilities

  •  May supervise interns and volunteers.

Work Environment

While performing the duties of the job, the incumbent is regularly required to stand, walk on even terrain, climb and utilize manual dexterity to use various tools, machines, and equipment. The incumbent is regularly exposed to all types of weather conditions including extreme heat and cold, snow, hail, wind, and rain. Most of the job tasks are completed outside. Cares for dangerous animals. Some work is required in small and/or confined spaces. Incumbents are exposed to noisy environments such as mowers and motors.


Physical Requirements

The physical requirements described are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to successfully perform the essential functions. 

Ascending or descending ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles and the like.

☐ Never          ☐ Occasionally         ☒ Constantly   

Moving self in different positions to accomplish tasks in various environments including tight and confined spaces.
☐ Never          ☐ Occasionally         ☒ Constantly

Remaining in a stationary position, often standing or sitting for prolonged periods.
☐ Never          ☒ Occasionally         ☐ Constantly

Moving about to accomplish tasks or moving from one worksite to another.
☐ Never          ☐ Occasionally         ☒ Constantly

Adjusting or moving objects up to 50 pounds in all directions.
☐ Never          ☐ Occasionally          ☒ Constantly

Communicating with others to exchange information.
☐ Never          ☐ Occasionally         ☒ Constantly

Repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands and/or fingers.
 Never          ☐ Occasionally          ☒ Constantly

Operating machinery and/or power tools.
☐ Never         ☒ Occasionally          ☐ Constantly

Operating motor vehicles or heavy equipment.
 Never         ☐ Occasionally          ☒ Constantly

Assessing the accuracy, neatness and thoroughness of the work assigned.
 Never        ☐ Occasionally          ☒ Constantly

 Never        ☐ Occasionally           ☒ Constantly

Stooping, kneeling, crouching, or crawling –
☐ Never         ☐ Occasionally          ☒ Constantly

Reaching with hands and arms.

☐ Never          ☐ Occasionally         ☒ Constantly

Tasting or smelling.

It's important to remember that applying for jobs online requires some caution and diligence to avoid scams. If something feels off about a job posting, take a closer look and investigate before submitting an application. Do not give out your bank account or credit card information to a potential employer. Watch out for job postings that ask you to work long hours without proper compensation, as this could be a sign of a fraudulent opportunity. It is advisable to contact the company directly to confirm the job's legitimacy and that they are currently hiring. A genuine employer will typically prefer to conduct an interview over the phone or in-person rather than just via email or text message. Beware of job postings that ask you to provide your personal bank account details to receive payment. Stay vigilant about identity theft when job hunting by being cautious about sharing personal information with potential employers. Always make sure to do your homework and research the company to ensure that it's a genuine and reliable organization before accepting any job offer.

 ☒ Never         ☐ Occasionally         ☐ Constantly


☒ Close vision;  ☒Distant vision;  ☐ Color vision;  ☒ Peripheral vision;  ☒Depth perception;  ☒ Ability to adjust focus

Lifting Requirement.
☒ > than 50 pounds        ☐ Up to 50 pounds         ☐ Up to 40 pounds         ☐ Up to 25 pounds               ☐ Up to 10 pounds

Additional eligibility requirements

  • Must be insurable to drive a zoo vehicle.
  • Must be able to maintain work hours that will serve the needs of the Blank Park Zoo
  • Must be able to operate various equipment, including skid loaders, trailers, and large vehicles.
  • Must be able to maintain calm and act professionally in all situations such as emergencies and guest interactions. 


  • Valid Iowa motor vehicle license or ability to obtain.
  • First Aid/CPR Training or ability to obtain.
  • SCUBA certification PADI, NAUI, or any recognized SCUBA certification organization.

Other Duties

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice. 

Affirmative Action/EEO statement

Blank Park Zoo is an equal opportunity employer and gives employment and promotional consideration without regard to race, color, sex, religion, age, disability, disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, and any other protected class as required by local, state, or federal law. We seek applicants for employment who are dedicated, hardworking and seek fulfilling employment. In return Blank Park Zoo offers competitive income, benefits, and an excellent working environment.

Experience Required

Four-year college degree, or relevant zoo experience. 2 years of paid experience in the zoo field preferred. Intermediate word processing skills. Working knowledge of Microsoft Office required.


We seek applicants for employment who are dedicated, hardworking and seek fulfilling employment. In return Blank Park Zoo offers competitive income, benefits, and an excellent working environment.



How to Apply

To apply, click the link. 

Blank Park Zoo
7401 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50315
Phone: 515.285.4722

Useful link(s) for this job

  • click apply button below

The job posting provides important details about the company culture and work environment - use this information to evaluate if it's a good fit for you. If you have any doubts about your ability to fulfill the responsibilities, please consider if this job is the right fit for you. If you are confident in your qualifications and experience, we encourage you to apply for this job. In the world of job applications, accuracy is everything – make sure that your work is flawless. In addition, has many other job vacancies that offer similar opportunities for career growth.