This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Animal Keeper

Agency:Smithsonian Institution

Job Announcement Number:13R-LG-298402-DEU-NZP

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$21.15 to $24.67 / Per Hour


Wednesday, January 30, 2013 to Wednesday, February 13, 2013




Full-Time, Permanent - Federal




FEW vacancies - Washington, DC, USView Map


This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals.



This position is located at the National Zoological Park.  This position contributes to the creation of an overall environment for collection animals that ensures the health and welfare of the specimens and provides an enriching and memorable experience for the visiting public.

The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce. Join us in "Inspiring Generations through Knowledge and Discovery."


  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.


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Performs a variety of duties that ensure the receipt, inspection, storage, inventory, preparation, and issuance of food and dietary supplements, forage, and bedding materials for aquatic and non-aquatic mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

  • Assists in preparing animals’ diets according to established procedures or special instructions.
  • Inspects stored items, ensures rotation, and removes outdated or spoiled food.
  • Ensures quality standards or observes in the formulation of diets in selecting food items (meat, fish, vegetables, grain, etc.) and adding food supplements and vitamins.
  • Assembles food in properly marked containers and delivers or issues food to caretakers.


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In order to be rated qualified, an applicant's overall experience and training must indicate possession of the minimum knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the duties of this position.

Physical Requirements: This position requires the physical ability to perform moderately heavy work including lifting and carrying heavy objects up to 50 lbs.; work outside in all weather conditions with exposure to dirt, dust, pollen and insects; climb ladders and stairs; and stand and walk for extended periods.


How you will be evaluated: Applications will first be evaluated to determine whether the following screen out element is met:

  1. Ability to do the work of an experienced Animal Keeper without more than normal supervision demonstrated by experience performing a full range of specialized duties that contribute to the proper care, feeding, training, exhibition, and propagation of a collection of wild exotic and/or endangered, and aquatic and terrestrial animals.
If an applicant meets the screen-out element, the following Job Elements will be evaluated:
  1. Skill in preparing diets for aquatic and non-aquatic mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.
  2. Knowledge of handling and inspecting food, dietary supplements, and forage.
  3. Knowledge of a variety of foods, forages and supplements commonly used in zoo diets, including, familiarity with nutrient composition.
  4. Knowledge of safe food handling, preparation and sanitation practices, HACCP and bio-security principles.
  5. Ability to use equipment and computers in food production, preparation and distribution in a zoo setting.
Applicants who meet or exceed the screen-out element will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria: Best Category - Meets the screen-out element and excels in most of the job related elements above. Better Category - Meets the screen-out element and satisfies most of the job related elements above. Good Category - Meets the screen-out element, but does not satisfy most of the job related elements above to a substantive degree. This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three", but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-veterans within each category. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no veteran in that category is passed over to select a non-veteran in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied. Veterans who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher. Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the announcement questions will not be considered for this position. Important Note: Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.
To preview questions please click here.


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The Smithsonian offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, vacation and sick leave, holidays, health/life insurance, accident insurance, and excellent retirement program options. Please see Benefits at for a complete description.



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Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page. Please Note:
  • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
  • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process; OR You may manually fax required documents. Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine. Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date. Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.
  • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.


Your application package should include the following documents:
  • Detailed resume created in the USAJOBS Resume Builder.
  • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy), if you are a veteran. Additionally, applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, as well as additional documentation required by the SF-15, such as a VA letter.
  • Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
  • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.


Linda Givens
Phone: 202-633-6307
Fax: 571-258-4052
TDD: 202-633-6409
Agency Information:
Office of Human Resources
POB 37012, 600 Maryland Avenue, MRC 517
Suite 5060
Washington, DC
Fax: 571-258-4052


At the end of the application process you will be able to create and save a PDF file that contains your responses to the assessment questions. You may save this file as initial receipt of your application. After the job announcement closes, you will receive an email from the Smithsonian with confirmation of receipt. The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job. Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks. We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process. You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" e-mailing; or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed. Additional Information:
  • Tips on applying for Smithsonian jobs are available at
  • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.
  • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (

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