Job Openings >> Senior Trainer
Senior Trainer
Title:Senior Trainer
Department:Animal Care
The Senior Trainer level is responsible for the overall care and behavior modification of animals used for programs with guests. Their husbandry and training knowledge includes a wide variety of taxa including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. This position has advanced behavioral knowledge. They demonstrate strong operant conditioning knowledge and behavior modification skills. They are experienced in interpretation and guest engagement. All these skills are used to provide excellent welfare for the animals under their care. They are relied upon extensively to teach operant conditioning, husbandry, and guest interpretation to developing team members. This position works well within their team and collaborates across other departments.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities include the following. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • Demonstrate commitment to the vision, mission and values of the John G. Shedd Aquarium.
  • Ensure the health and welfare of the animal collection.
  • Prepare diets for animals.
  • Maintain a clean, healthy, and safe environment for the animals, staff, and aquarium guests.
  • Maintain detailed animal records.
  • Coordinate the daily execution of animal training goals including enrichment, public presentations, and new behavioral conditioning.
  • Assist the leadership in overseeing all aspects of the daily care and behavioral conditioning of the animals.
  • Coordinate animal handling for animal presentations, medical care, and transport.
  • Engage in regular animal interactions including training sessions, physical exams, public presentations, and enrichment sessions.
  • Actively condition new behavior that assists in the care of the animals and animal programming with Shedd’s guests.
  • Maintain a superior level of customer service while performing primary/key roles in daily shows, guest-animal interactions, and animal programming.
  • Represent Shedd Aquarium through engaging and educational public presentations such as media appearances, tours, and facilitated programs.
  • Collaborate with management to create and drive through to completion animal and personnel goals.
  • Assist in the development and coaching of staff members including mentoring less experienced staff on animal training, animal care, enrichment, animal handling, public presentation, and general operations.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to good relations with fellow staff members, visitors, volunteers, and contractors by promoting positive attitudes, good will, cooperation, and providing high standards of customer service.
  • Dive and snorkel for purposes of cleaning, pool inspection, and general maintenance.
  • Perform various tasks including evening functions, special employee training and seminars, volunteer guidance and interactions, special maintenance or construction projects, and student interviews.
  • Develop and enhance a comprehensive enrichment program. Mentors less experienced staff in the development of novel enrichment devices and activities.
  • Ensure compliance with industry and government.
  • Embrace a flexible work schedule that includes weekends, holidays, and non-standardized hours. sometimes in excess of 40 hours per week
  • Work in an environment with daily exposure to salt water
  • Daily lifting in excess of 40 pounds, periodic lifting up to 70 pounds.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Zoology, Biology, Life Sciences, or related area is preferred. Equivalent experience will be considered in lieu of degree.
  • Minimum of five years’ experience of animal husbandry, training, and guest programming working with marine mammals, birds, or other exotic animals in an AZA accredited institution.
  • Strong knowledge of animal training techniques, focusing on positive reinforcement.
  • Advanced behavioral knowledge and application of behavior modification skill sets with a wide variety of taxa.
  • Proven ability to work well within teams and departments
  • Effective use of strong leadership skills.
  • Efficient use of SCUBA for exhibit maintenance and/or open water diving.
  • Proficient computer skills.
  • Open water diving certification or the ability to complete certification within 1 year.
  • CIG certification preferred.
Other Skills and Characteristics:
  • Passionate and positive individual who values open and honest communication.
  • Innovative thoughts with the initiative to accomplish them.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Ability to give and follow directions effectively.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively independently and in a team setting.
  • Must have good hearing, vision, written, and verbal communication skills.

We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.

If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

This opening is closed and is no longer accepting applications
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