Do you want to work as a theme park designer?
- 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 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential designers and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
UPDATED: 5 November 2020
1. What is a theme park designer?
A Theme Park Designer creates ideas and the concept art for new and exciting theme parks and attractions.
They normally work with engineers, architects, set designers, sculptors and other specialists in building the approved theme parks
2. What do they do?
Art & Design / Business / Zoos, Aquariums, Theme Parks and Museums
Being a theme park designer is a job that requires focus on design and architectural principles, imagination, computer animation and 3D rendering. They use design skills to create concept art.
They can either focus only on the creative, drawing part of the career, or go even further and design technically accurate plans that can be used to build the theme park.
- Discuss brief with new clients
- Undergo prestudy of required concept
- Master Planning
- Study animals to be featured
- Attraction Selection
- Concept Design
- Schematic Design
- Visitor Flow Studies
- Analyse visitor experience
- Presentation of concept design to clients
Where they work:
Most of the work performed by theme park designers will be in an office or studio setting where the initial phases of the design project will be completed.
Places of Employment –
Entry level theme park designers normally work for established companies which focus on designing theme parks, or for architects who secure design contracts.
The average annual salary for entry level theme park designers is around US$50,000. They usually work for established design companies or architects.
As with most designing/engineering careers, there will always be tight deadlines and very strict rules to follow. This means that you should be able to work long hours, and possibly over weekends and holidays. There might be some travelling involved to visit clients and perform site visits.
Future growth and Possibilities:
Theme Park Designers work in a niche market, which means that there is competition to get contracts, and therefore not a noticeable growth in the market. There is a possibility in the future of combining city development with theme parks, as more people look into conservation and ecologically friendly architecture.
3. Which Skills are required?
The skills required for a career as a theme park designer 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.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Strong artistic skills
- Basic Animal behavior and environmental knowledge
- Basic customer service skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Strong computer literacy
4. Which Subjects must I have at School?
Art will be your major or most important subject in school, as most art or technical courses at college/ university will require it for admission. It will also strengthen your artistic skills and techniques, and prepare you for a career as a theme park designer.
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!
5. What will I need to Study?
Theme Park Designers that focus on the concept art or design normally have a minimum of a College Diploma. Completion of Short Courses in design would also be beneficial.
If you are thinking of actually designing technical drawings, then you need to study towards at least a Degree in Architecture, or Engineering.
The focus of your studies should be on art and design, which includes regular practice to hone skills
Short Courses –
Mostly in drawing techniques. A good command and knowledge of computer design programs is required.
The duration of Bachelor’s Degrees is normally three years. Short Courses might be between a few weeks to a few months.
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 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.
Stepping Stone Career:
Being an enclosure designer 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 (sometimes due to things like high fees etc). You can begin as an enclosure designer after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience 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 careers, most of the skills you will need 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.
Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior person or expert. The more hands on careers, such as animal trainers might require apprenticeship.
Join the Theme Park Designer Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!
Average entry level of education across the career:
6. 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 OZT in STEP 8.
7. 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 and training.
8. Join the OZT community
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a theme park designer.
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 Theme Park Designer, 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.
Other interesting Careers
Important Career Profile and Resources
Career Mentors are Members who assist by volunteering to keep each Career Page factual and current, while mentoring Students in the related Career Group.
Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:
List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:
One Zoo Tree