The Mote Aquarium Sciences Apprenticeship Program (Mote ASAP) will provide a one-year extensive, fully-immersive experience giving young professionals the crucial experience and support to enter the Aquarium and Animal Care industries as skilled, qualified applicants. The goals of this stipend-supported apprenticeship program are to lower financial barriers to gaining the minimum-required experience for entry-level animal care employment opportunities, and to increase the odds of retaining underrepresented scientists in the animal care field. Aquarium Sciences Apprenticeships would allow for young professionals (with at least one past animal care internship experience) to obtain professional work experience at an AZA-accredited aquarium. Program participants will receive stipend-support during their Apprenticeship.
Apprentices will work within Mote Aquarium’s Fish and Invertebrate Husbandry Department, and learn how to provide care for live collections featuring over 100+ species of freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and invertebrates.
Each Apprenticeship experience will include a variety of professional development and networking opportunities, extensive mentorship, and training. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Learning to care for 100+ species freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and invertebrates
- Mentorship and training by a team of experienced aquarium biologists
- Skill strengthening workshops: ex. Animal transport, parasite identification and management, water quality testing
- Opportunities for shadow experiences at other Florida-based Zoos and Aquariums
- Opportunity to earn Basic Open Water SCUBA Certification
- Opportunity to earn Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators (AALSO) certifications
- Opportunity to attend an aquarium husbandry conference alongside a conference mentor
- Opportunity to help with the transition to/launch of Mote’s newest facility, Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA)
- Pre and post-program pathway guidance
The Mote Aquarium Sciences Apprenticeship Program will run from August 12th, 2024 - August 15th, 2025.
Daily duties for Apprentices will include cleaning exhibits and behind-the-scenes areas, preparing food and feeding, maintaining life support systems, making exhibit/animal observations and keeping accurate records.
- Ability to climb and work on ladders
- Ability to work outside in hot and humid Florida weather conditions
- Ability to spend the majority of workday walking, standing, bending and lifting
- Capable of climbing and working from ladders
- Tolerance to work in the proximity of noisy machinery & equipment
- Ability to work in confined spaces
- Tolerance for the smell of fish and animal feces
- Ability to lift and carry 60 lbs
- Ability to lift 25 lbs overhead
- Capable of working around bleach and other sanitizing chemicals
- Strength to lift a net holding 10 lbs with one arm
- Tolerance working with wet hands, feet and clothes regularly
- This is not a research position/opportunity.
- Apprentices will not be working with marine mammals or sea turtles.
We will begin reviewing applications on March 1st, 2024. Selection will occur when the appropriate candidates are found, and then no more applications will be accepted.
The goal of this program is to provide financial support, mentorship, and pathway guidance to historically underserved, underrepresented groups in the aquatic animal care field including underrepresented minorities. (NSF-defined underrepresented minorities are African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders). However, college graduates of any race, ethnicity or identity are welcome to apply.
- U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or its territories.
- Completed degree program in the last 2 years: Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree
- Available for the full duration of the one-year program, August 12th, 2024 - August 15th, 2025
- Must have an interest in fish and invertebrate animal care
- Must plan to pursue a career in aquatic animal care
- Must be willing/able to work holidays and weekends
Applicants must meet one of the following criteria:
- Completed at least one aquatic animal care internship
- Obtained 3 months or more of zoo or aquarium volunteering experience
- Graduated from an academic program that focuses on aquatic aquarium care
Normal hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with one hour for lunch and will include weekend and holiday hours. Occasional longer daily hours or evening hours may be required to complete specific tasks.
Stipends, travel and housing information
Participants in the Mote Aquarium Sciences Apprenticeship Program can receive:
- Financial support via stipend for up to 1-year
- Financial support for travel/relocation expenses to Sarasota, FL
Apprentices are responsible for finding and arranging their own housing in the surrounding areas, so bringing a car is highly recommended. Apprentices are responsible for providing or making arrangements for daily transportation to Mote.
Mote ASAP Application Process
Applicants must complete the online application form and upload a one-to-two page personal statement or statement of interest, a resume or CV, two letters of recommendation (which must be uploaded directly by their recommender), and the contact information for three professional references. More detailed instructions for preparing and submitting these materials are provided on the application page.