Animal Health Care Volunteers & Externships

Animal Health Care Volunteers

Animal Health Care volunteers assist animal health staff in the daily and preventative medical procedures for the animal collection, volunteers will be assigned to areas that best meet their abilities, interests, and the needs of the animal health division and its staff. Assignments may include assisting vets and technicians with:

  • Providing pre and post surgical care
  • Administering medications
  • Preparing animal diets
  • Cleaning animal enclosures and/or holding areas
  • Observing behavior
  • Organizing, preparing, and collecting supplies and materials

To apply to the Animal Health Care Volunteer program please fill out the City Volunteer Application and send it along with a resume, cover letter, and verification of vet-tech experience to the address listed on the application or to our fax at 323/644-5311.


  • Two years experience in a veterinary hospital, or in a zoo setting
  • Certified technician a benefit, but not required
  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Enjoy working around animals
  • Able to work well in a team and individually
  • Open, flexible, and positive attitude
  • Professional appearance
  • Punctuality


  • Current TB test (within 6 months)
  • Commit to a minimum of one six-hour day per week. Shifts start at 7:30 a.m.

After Interview

  • Complete Los Angeles Zoo City Volunteer Orientation (6 hours)
  • Fingerprinting with the City of Los Angeles (to be scheduled by the Los Angeles Zoo). A social security number is required for fingerprinting.

Senior Veterinary Student Externship

General Description

The Los Angeles Zoo offers senior veterinary students and first year veterinary graduates a six week externship. The goal of the externship is to expose students to zoological medicine and also familiarize them with the various facets of zoo animal husbandry and management.The Los Angeles Zoo has a diverse collection of over 1,100 animals.

The extern will be working with up to five different veterinarians. Duties include, but are not limited to, assisting the veterinarian with procedures and necropsies, catching and restraining a variety of animals, and assisting veterinary technicians with treatments, cleaning, and feeding of hospitalized/quarantined animals. The extern may also have an opportunity to work in the commissary, with the behavioral enrichment staff, and with animal keepers.

The veterinarians at the Los Angeles Zoo rotate covering seven days a week, 10 hours each day. The extern is expected to participate in a minimum of 40 hours/week, in daily rounds, staff training sessions, and is also expected to complete and present a powerpoint presentation on an independent project (guidance and assistance will be given).


The applicant should possess basic medical and surgical skills. We do recommend scheduling this rotation after you have had basic medicine and surgery rotations. Qualified students should be in their last year of veterinary school or a first year graduate, and fluent in English. First consideration will be given to those students that demonstrate a prolonged interest in zoo animal medicine and intend to pursue zoo animal medicine as a career.

After acceptance into the program, proof of a negative TB test within the past year is required, as well as a photocopy of of your driver’s license.


Housing, transportation logistics, and funding are generally the responsibility of the student. It is possible that students may stay in a small studio apartment located on zoo grounds.  However, due to the restrictions associated with this housing, they are encouraged to find temporary housing throughout their externship.

A vehicle is strongly recommended since Los Angeles is a very expansive city with limited public transportation.

Application Procedure

Applications should be submitted as far in advance as possible. There is no overlapping of 4th year student externs and positions fill often a year in advance. Applicants should provide a resume, letter of intent, two letters of reference from veterinarians, and tentative proposed externship dates.

Please click here to download the application

Thank you for your interest. Applications should be sent to:

Michelle Ramirez
Los Angeles Zoo – Gottlieb Health Center
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-6018
[email protected]

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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