Frequently Asked Questions
What Will I Learn from the FITZ Zoo Program? The FITZ Zoo Animal Management Program is designed to train the next generation of responsible animal caregivers. Our focus is on Zoo keeping but our curriculum includes The Florida Department of Education Job Training Requirements for Veterinary Assistants.  We just added the “Vet Stuff” so that our graduates are qualified veterinary assistants at graduation. FITZ students obtain over 2700 hours of “zoo lab” and classroom experiences during the One Year program. You are a Zookeeper for a Full Year.
Why FITZ Zoo Animal Training Program Over Other Programs?  Three  simple things make FITZ the best program:  Animal Collection,  Instructors, &  Class Size
        Jaguars, Spotted Hyenas, and Red kangaroos, GROUPS/Breeding  Patas Monkeys, Owl  Monkeys, Hawaiian Ne’Ne’ geese (Look it up and they reproduce, too), Broad snout Caiman, plus others. And the collection is expanding to meet the needs for student learning experiences.
         FITZ  Instructors are “Pros” from the zoo animal field. Our Director is a Zoo/Circus Veterinarian with 40 plus years working in zoos as a keeper and veterinarian. No waiting for DOC to arrive at FITZ.
         A FITZ class size averages less than 15 students. We like a class size around 8-10 students.  We planned it this way. More personal experience, more teachers –student time. MORE RESPONSIBILITY
What kind of Jobs Can I Expect to Get after Graduation? The FITZ program began almost twenty years ago as the Marion Teaching Zoo. Our graduates are wildlife officers, zoo curators/directors, private zoo culturists/biology/zoology instructors, animal control officers, naturalists/behaviorists and just plain old hard working folks. FITZ graduates cherish the times they spent with the animals and the skills and knowledge they received.
Will I Be Working Weekends, Spring Break Holidays, summer at FITZ?   We make exceptions for holidays and “cover" for each other.  Real Zoo keepers care for their animal charges 365 plus days a year.
 Will I Be Able to Have A Part Time Job? Financial Aid? Housing?  The FITZ zoo program was always designed with student need in mind.You spend every Sunday and Monday Evenings from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in lecture. Zoo Lab times are 8AM to 5PM a minimum of one regular day per week and two “public” days (weekends) per month. You have plenty of time to have a  job. Young people, empty nesters, career changers, and even seniors have graduated from FITZ. We like the mix and diversity.
 FITZ does not provide financial aid.
Tuition is $1000 per three month term- Four terms per year ($4000-Total Program). We accept cash, check, or debit/credit cards. FITZ also has a monthly payment plan of $350 per month.
The students have helped compile a list of affordable, clean, quiet housing options. You will receive this information at FITZ acceptance. No Florida Residency required.
What Are Entry Level Salaries Like?   As with all jobs, salaries depend on education, experience, and region.  FITZ graduates have more skills, experience, and knowledge than the “Average Joe”. FITZ curriculum also includes resume building, interview skills, and a “Mock” job interview by “Zoo Pros”.
What is a Typical FITZ Lab Day Like?  8AM to 5PM- Year round-One Year –JUST LIKE THE REAL WORLD
AM’s are exhibit cleaning, collection counts, emergency repairs, and morning feedings.
After Lunch project time: Landscaping, exhibit building/repair, animal enrichment/behavior projects
PM’s are Pre –Closing time feedings, night time preparations, record keeping ,debrief.
FITZ has the most extensive Public Management Curriculum available.You learn public/group speaking, tour guide basics, power point, and artifact demonstrations.
Public days/ special tour groups- The students do the tour- NO Special Tour Staff –It’s all on you. The Professional Zoo Staff is omnipresent and guides as needed.
How long is the FITZ Program? How Do I Apply? Is There Pretests? Or education requirements?
The FITZ program is one full year. There are no pre-tests. But you must have a high school diploma or GED. Many of our students have degrees or some college background, but we do not require any.
Class size is limited to 15 totals. The FITZ program accepts students in January and July.
 THE “Old” Students overlap with the “Newbies.” We learn by doing and teaching others.
To APPLY email at or leave a message on FITZ line at 352-867-7788