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Senior Aquarist

Seattle Aquarium
Seattle, Washington, US
Closing date
Oct 20, 2022

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Aquarium / Zoo / Botanical garden
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
Job Description


Senior Aquarist

Posted: Open to internal and external applicants

Reports to: Curator of Tropical Fish & Invertebrates

Status: Full time, salaried, benefited position

Hours of work: Tuesday through Saturday workweek, 7:00am-4:00pm, open to change. Must be willing to work occasional evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays, as well as be able to respond to 24-hour emergency calls

Date needed: November 2022

Position description:

The Seattle Aquarium, a leading marine conservation organization, is looking for a senior aquarist to join the tropical fish and Invertebrates team. The senior aquarist acts in a lead capacity, carrying out all aspects of the daily care of assigned animals including feeding, observation, training, administration of medication, medical treatment and record keeping. Additionally, the senior aquarist assists with training new staff and volunteers, assists with the directing of daily work assignments for Aquarist staff, volunteers, and interns. This Senior Aquarist position will participate in the Aquarium's dive program and involves diving in animal habitats at the Aquarium. This position will work primarily out of our Animal Care Center. The ACC is an offsite animal holding and quarantine facility located a short distance away from the waterfront campus and near a light rail station.

Key functions:
  • Work and engage others in line with the Aquarium's mission, D.E.I and S.A.L.I.S.H values
  • Preparing, storing, and distributing food according to established amounts, types and diets; monitoring feeding habits and reporting any changes or abnormalities.
  • Cleaning and performing routine maintenance and minor repair of animal exhibits and holding areas to assure the health of animals and the presentation of the species in an attractive environment. Maintaining water quality to keep aquatic animals in a healthy condition.
  • Observing animals and evaluating behavior to determine physical/behavioral health and well-being.
  • Acting as a point person for daily husbandry operations in designated area; delegating and assigning work, as necessary.
  • Maintaining records and reports regarding assigned species including daily veterinary reports, exhibit maintenance, food consumption records and other reports specific to the assigned area.
  • Training, coordinating, and supervising the work of animal care volunteers, interns and temporary animal care personnel by identifying, assigning and monitoring tasks, and evaluating work.
  • Leading and/or assisting with animal acquisition, acclimation, and quarantine.
  • Using scuba and surface-supplied air systems for in-tank animal care and exhibit maintenance. May include field diving for animal collection, research, or other tasks.
  • Planning, organizing and leading appropriate off-site collecting activities.
  • Leading and/or assisting with administration of medications and treatments according to established procedures and veterinary instructions. Aiding in handling or restraining animals in accordance with established safety procedures as necessary to ensure animal welfare.
  • Coordinating, planning, and executing the life sciences department's aspects of special events, and representing life sciences in appropriate planning meetings and committees.

Required skills and experience:
We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education to meet minimum requirements.
  • B.A./B.S. degree in biology, marine biology or related field required. We may consider an equivalent combination of education and experience in lieu of degree.
  • Minimum of three years' experience, preferably demonstrating progressively responsible duties, involving the care and husbandry of animals in a zoo, aquarium, or related environment (AZA facility preferred).
  • Must have or be able to obtain a Washington state driver's license.
  • Demonstrated ability with small vessel handling and maintenance preferred.
  • Most hold current CPR, first aid and AED certifications.
  • Ex: Alignment with the Aquarium's S.A.L.I.S.H. and diversity, equity and inclusion values.

To qualify for evaluation as a Seattle Aquarium diver, a candidate must meet the following general criteria:
  • Possess a scuba certification to the level of rescue diver (or equivalent) from a nationally recognized certification agency.
  • Possess a recent (less than 12 months) approval to recreational scuba signed by a physician (MD or DO).
  • Successfully pass an AAUS watermanship requirements swim test.
  • Pass a Seattle Aquarium scuba skills evaluation dive.

In addition, the new staff diver candidate must complete and pass the following Aquarium diver physical exam, training classes and deadlines:
  • Pass a Seattle Aquarium occupational diving physical exam.
  • Emergency oxygen provider training within six months of hire.
  • Staff exhibit diver training and evaluation within six months of hire.
  • The position-defined level of scientific diver training and evaluation within one year of hire.

Working conditions:
  • Requires handling, working with or exposure to large, dangerous animals, animal diseases, animal feces and toxic chemicals.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell.
  • Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Occasionally required to lift more than 50 pounds.
  • Must be able to be on their feet six or more hours a day; be physically active through physical motions.
  • Required to work outdoors year ‘round, near water, on wet and slippery surfaces and at heights.
  • Must be willing to work evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays and an occasional 24-hour emergency call.
  • Must be able to swim, dive and both pass and maintain all required scuba diving skills and certifications.
  • Must be able to use fall restraint equipment, respirators, and other appropriate safety gear; may be required to work in confined spaces

Salary and benefits: $59,600-$69,000/year Dependent on experience . Please include salary expectations in your materials. Full-time staff are eligible for the Seattle Aquarium's comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, an employer-funded health reimbursement account, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, life insurance, long-term disability, 403b retirement fund with employer match, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, a Seattle Aquarium Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.

How to apply: The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal-opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. One of our core values is fostering an inclusive community, and we want our staff to reflect our community. To that end, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including but not limited to Black, Indigenous and People of Color applicants and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Interested candidates should upload a résumé to our online application to be considered. Application review will begin immediately.

Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job by emailing us at

Note: Must pass a background check and motor vehicle records check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position. Regarding driving records: Within the last three years, you must not have had more than two moving traffic violations or any major violation (DUI, reckless driving, negligent driving, etc.).

About the Seattle Aquarium:

The Seattle Aquarium is a respected authority on Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the world's one ocean. Our passionate staff increases awareness and drives the change needed to preserve and protect our marine environment by providing an inspiring visitor experience, engaging daytime and evening events, conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds, community outreach to marginalized populations, research that advances understanding of animals in our care and their counterparts in the wild, advocacy and policy work, an award-winning volunteer program, high-impact marketing and communications, and more.

Our values, developed in conjunction with our staff, include commitments to adopting and promoting sustainable practices, creating awe-inspiring experiences, constantly learning and improving, fostering an inclusive community, maintaining scientific credibility through evidence-based practices and honoring our unique place by using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding.

Proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, we're among the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. by attendance, and we welcome over 850,000 people each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment , we are working to substantially increase our conservation impact by expanding our campus with a new building, the Ocean Pavilion. Learn more at

Regarding COVID-19:

Open daily, the Aquarium prioritizes the health and safety of our staff and visitors, embracing science to guide our operations. We maintain high standards of cleanliness, and all high-touch surfaces (like windows, railings, restrooms and elevators) are continuously cleaned.

Please note: All Aquarium staff and volunteers must provide proof of vaccination or approved medical or religious exemption by the date of hire. If you have questions about this policy or for information regarding the exemption process, please contact the Human Resources department at


We anticipate interviewing candidates as applications are received.  We will work with candidates to set interview dates. If hired, relocation assistance is not available.

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