Do you want to work as a vivarium technician?

  • Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
  • ​Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
  • If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential technicians and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 6 October 2020

1. What is a vivarium technician?

A vivarium is basically a glass enclosed area in which animals or plants are raised for observation and research.

The Vivarium Technician follows established practices and procedures to provide routine animal care and husbandry and assists research staff in performing technical work related to the care and use of research animals.

2. What does a Vivarium Technician do?

Career Categories:

The Vivarium Technician career can be found in the following career categories:

  • Animal Care
  • Animal Health

What does a Vivarium Technician focus on?

The Vivarium Technician follows established practices and procedures to provide routine animal care and husbandry and assists research staff in performing technical work related to the care and use of research animals.

What are the daily tasks of a Vivarium Technician?

  • Provide care to animals
  • Assist in general recordkeeping as well as specialized monitoring and surveillance programs
  • Feed and water animals
  • Maintain cleanliness and sanitation of animal cages, rooms, halls, etc. and support spaces of the vivaria
  • Observe and report changes in the health status or condition of animals

3. The working environment of a Vivarium Technician

Where does a Vivarium Technician work?

Environment –

Vivarium Technicians spend most of their day working indoors with the animals.

Places of Employment –

In most cases they are employed by animal research facilities, government, universities or zoos.​

What is the average annual salary of a Vivarium Technician?

The starting annual salary of permanent technicians is around US$35,000 per year. Part time workers earn around US$18 per hour. 

Can a Vivarium Technician be promoted?

Technicians may be promoted to a more senior role, or move to similar careers in field research.

What difficulties can a Vivarium Technician face?

The most difficult part of this career is being able to work with stressed animals. Certain animals can get difficult and temperamental when they sense a new person in their space. Learning to deal with them is important to make vivarium technician your ideal career. They may also be required to work irregular hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work also requires a fair amount of physical work and you need to be fit and strong for many of the daily tasks.

4. Which Skills are required by a Vivarium Technician?

The skills required for a career as a vivarium technician can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • Animal handling and care techniques
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Basic computer literacy
Life Skills
Career Skills

5. Which Subjects must I have at School to prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

6. What will I need to Study to become a Vivarium Technician?

Minimum educational requirements:

Generally, vivarium technicians must have at least a minimum of a high school diploma (certificate), when working for an established facilities.

The best technicians learn additional skills on the job, or acquire skills through completing short courses. In some countries the minimum qualification is at least a College diploma or University Degree with subjects such as animal psychology, physiology or animal husbandry. 

Syudy Focus:

When you do decide to further your skills, you might want to focus on short courses that specialize in caring for animals as well as dealing with behavioral issues.

Study Duration:

The duration of short courses differ, but can range from a few days to a few weeks.

​Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

​Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone Career:

Being a vivarium technician can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach at first (such as high study fees etc).

You can begin as a technician after basic short courses and expert guidance. The money you make can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience also helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and Apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal care careers, most of the required skills will be acquired through on-the-job training. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions (or junior positions) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Join the Vivarium Technicians Group to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of those entering the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

7. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining the OZT Community.

8. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care.

Do you want to contribute to the career information? Please click on the red beetle to learn about being an OZT mentor or contributor.

Vivarium Technician

Join the OZT community

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a vivarium technician.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Vivarium Technician, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu.

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