“I am grateful to all the dedicated staff at the Conservators Center because without them my amazing experience would not have been possible. I would encourage anyone interested in gaining experience working with rare and endangered species to intern or volunteer at the Conservators Center because it is really an unimaginable experience, not even in your wildest dreams.” - Ashley Fitzpatrick

“I am grateful to all the dedicated staff at the Conservators Center because without them my amazing experience would not have been possible. I would encourage anyone interested in gaining experience working with rare and endangered species to intern or volunteer at the Conservators Center because it is really an unimaginable experience, not even in your wildest dreams.” – Ashley Fitzpatrick, Worchester State University

The Conservators Center is committed to providing education about the species in our care. Our internship offers a unique, hands-on, real-world learning experience in exotic animal husbandry.

This program is so popular that we host interns from throughout the United States and other countries. It prepares you to seek employment in exotic animal care and provides you with a strong asset on graduate or veterinary school applications. You are also welcome to apply if you simply want the experience of working with our animal keepers and an interesting addition to your resume.

We do not currently offer internships in other areas of the organization. But we are open to a specialized internship when a qualified applicant proposes a great plan. To discuss a specific internship opportunity, email intern@conservatorscenter.org.

Please note that although our interns are valued and appreciated members of our community, they do not earn a salary. Some, however, have become employees after they completed their internship. We do not have staff positions available very often, but when we do, we do consider former and current interns who have impressed us with their work and their dedication to the well-being of our residents.

All interns must be at least 18 years old.

Not sure about committing to an internship? Consider volunteering!

What You’ll Learn as a Conservators Center Intern

Our interns are completely immersed in the daily routines of our Animal Husbandry staff and are exposed to most aspects of the Center’s daily operations. Although your focus will be on animal husbandry, you will also have opportunities to participate in other areas of the organization, such as Education and Guest Relations, to ensure that you have a well-rounded experience at the conservancy.

“Working daily around the animals and the people at the Center is an amazing opportunity that most people never get to experience. It is lots of work, but it’s hard not to enjoy it when you are surrounded by tigers playing in their pools, binturongs hoping for bananas, and servals trying to ‘help’ you feed them. This internship completely changed my perspective on what it takes to care for these animals, and every day was different. I learned so much more than I ever thought I would and took away a lot of great memories.” - Laura Keener, Animal Health Major, University of Georgia

“Working daily around the animals and the people at the Center is an amazing opportunity that most people never get to experience. It is lots of work, but it’s hard not to enjoy it when you are surrounded by tigers playing in their pools, binturongs hoping for bananas, and servals trying to ‘help’ you feed them. This internship completely changed my perspective on what it takes to care for these animals, and every day was different. I learned so much more than I ever thought I would and took away a lot of great memories.” – Laura Keener, Animal Health Major, University of Georgia

On a typical work day, you will assist with

  • preparing diets and delivering them to the animals
  • cleaning and maintaining food preparation areas
  • cleaning and maintaining animal habitats
  • providing enrichment to the animals

Full-time interns will also have the opportunity to learn about:

  • animal socialization and handling
  • operant conditioning
  • the zoological industry
  • additional wildlife centers in the area

At the beginning of your internship you will shadow an animal keeper throughout the day until you have learned specific skills you may perform independently. Due to the nature of our animal collection, you will gain experience in very specific animal husbandry of large carnivore species; small, obscure carnivore species; and the special needs of geriatric animals. To ensure your safety, there are aspects of the keeper’s daily tasks that you may closely observe but will not perform. While this internship is a great way to enhance vet school applications, this program focuses in animal husbandry, and any opportunities to observe vet care beyond basic administration of medications and supplements will be minimal at best.

After successfully completing the program you will be prepared for advanced study or to apply for paid positions at similar facilities with a comparable animal collection. Some of our interns with interests beyond exotic animal husbandry return as advanced interns at the Center in husbandry, or another area such as education.

Learn more about Kerrigan Gudger (Meredith College, Class of 2016) and her experience interning at the Conservators Center! 

Requirements

Due to the nature of the required work, which includes a lot of physical labor and some driving, you must be able to lift 50 pounds and you must have a valid U.S. driver’s license.

Intern Sessions

We offer a few different intern sessions:
General Full-time Session

320 hours over 8 weeks

These sessions are offered throughout the fall, winter, and spring.* 8-week interns will not be exposed to as much additional content as the summer interns; however they often get more one-on-one time with our Husbandry staff.

Summer Full-time Intensive Session

240 hours over 6 weeks

The Center offers four of these sessions over the course of the summer.* Summer interns take weekly classes related to husbandry, wildlife education, and non-profit management, as well as a behind-the-scenes visit to another wildlife facility in North Carolina.

Part-time Session

320 hours over 20 weeks

This option is available throughout the fall, winter, and spring,** and it is ideal for local applicants who would like to intern while attending classes or working part-time. Part-time interns must commit to at least 16 hours/week, with a minimum shift length of 4 hours, and at least one full work day (8am-4:30pm) each week. The additional classes and content in the General and Summer Full-time Sessions are not available to part-time interns.

Mini Full-time Session

120 hours over 3 weeks

These sessions are available throughout the fall, winter, and spring.** They are specifically designed for breaks in school and holiday schedules, and they are the newest offering in the Conservators Center internship program! Because of the shortened time frame, Mini Session participants will be asked to concentrate on a particular group of species. Currently, interns participating in the Mini Sessions can choose between focusing on the husbandry of the Center’s large cats (leopards, lions, and tigers) and focusing on the husbandry of the Center’s small carnivores (binturongs, servals, Geoffroy’s cats, etc) and ring-tailed lemurs.

*Detailed dates for the full-time internships are available on the application (link below).

**Start and end dates for the Part-time and Mini Sessions are variable, and will depend on applicant availability and the Center’s scheduling constraints.

Our interns become part of our family. Although our internship includes hard work, it’s a fun and rewarding experience.

Our interns become part of our family. Although our internship includes hard work, it’s a fun and rewarding experience.

Housing

Beds at the Conservators Center Guest House are available to interns for a fee of $75/week as well as a refundable deposit of $250. Please note that this housing is conveniently located near the Center, but residents share rooms. If this is of interest to you, you can inquire about it when you apply for an internship. Interns seeking housing are not required to live at the Guest House and are welcome to research other housing options within the area.

Application

Apply here.

(We are no longer accepting applications for the Summer 2017 intensive internships.) 

If you have any questions, please email intern@conservatorscenter.org. Please do not call for information.