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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Animal Keeper
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  13R-LG-5001T-DEU-NZP

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$17.85 to $20.83 / Per Hour
Monday, July 01, 2013 to Monday, September 30, 2013
Federal - Full-Time, Temporary Appointment up to one year or less.
FEW vacancies - Washington, DC, US  View Map
FEW vacancies - Front Royal, VA, US  View Map

This continuous announcement is open to citizens or nationals of the United States. 

NOTE: Your application will expire after 60 days. You may reactivate your application at any time by re-applying. You will be able to change, or confirm your previous answers at that time. To re-apply follow the same instructions listed under the 'How to Apply' tab.


This position is located in the National Zoological Park (NZP), Smithsonian Institution. The position may be filled at the Washington, DC or Front Royal, VA location. The purpose of this position is to perform routine duties related to the care and maintenance of a collection of animals, many of which are rare and endangered. If you want to participate in this exciting challenge, apply today!

This is an open continuous announcement which is used to fill temporary vacancies as they become available. When you apply, your resume will be maintained in our candidate inventory, and eligible applicants will be considered for vacancies that occur during the open period of this announcement as they become available. The first cut-off date for initial consideration will be on or after            July 8, 2013. Additional cut-off dates are established as vacancies become available.


  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation.
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Must possess a valid State drivers' license.
  • This is an emergency-essential position. Incumbent may be required to work
  • weekends, shift work and/or holidays on a regular and recurring basis.


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This position performs a variety of duties that ensure the proper care, feeding, exhibition, and propagation of a collection of wild and exotic animals, many of which are rare and endangered:

  • Measures and prepares food items and maintains sanitary conditions around feeding areas.
  • Cleans animal enclosures by hosing, sweeping, scrubbing, raking, and removing manure, unconsumed food, and other refuse.
  • Keeps service areas and adjacent public areas clean.
  • Maintains enclosure materials by trimming and watering plants, replacing nesting and bedding material in accordance with instructions provided by higher level personnel.
  • Prepares and implements, animal enrichment devices.
  • Unloads and stores animal care supplies.
  • As instructed and under close supervision, participates in animal training sessions.
  • Interacts with the public in animal demonstration, feeding and monitoring sessions.


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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: The work requires the ability to lift and carry materials weighing up to 100 pounds. The work also requires extended periods of standing, walking, bending, and stooping. The work is performed indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. The incumbent is exposed to dust and to unpleasant odors and noises from the animals and to cleaning solutions and other chemicals. The work is performed on concrete floors and other hard surfaces. The work may be performed in closed or cramped spaces. The incumbent is exposed to bites, scratches, and animal waste, and may be exposed to animal parasites and zoonotic diseases.

SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT:  The incumbent must possess a valid State drivers' license.  The incumbent must be able to work in adverse environmental conditions; assist during animal escape or other job related emergencies during off duty hours; possess good distance vision in one eye, and have the ability to read printed material the size of typewritten characters without strain (glasses permitted).  The incumbent will be subject to meeting medical requirements of the position at the time of appointment consideration.  Any physical condition which would cause the candidate to be a hazard to her/himself, to others, or to the animals will be disqualifying.


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

  • Screen Out Element: Ability to do the work of an Animal Keeper, without more than normal supervision demonstrated by experience performing a full range of specialized duties that includes caring for wild exotic and/or endangered animals, in a zoological setting.

If an applicant meets the screen-out element, the following Job Elements will be evaluated:

  • Knowledge of the care of animals in an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium.
  • Knowledge of monitoring animal social and medical behavior.
  • Knowledge in collecting data for animal care or research.
  • Skill in conducting animal demonstrations and tours.
  • Knowledge of implementation of animal enrichment items.
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 to apply. Do not email or fax your resume directly, as it will not be considered as a completed application package for consideration. 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.
  • Proof of prior federal service such as the latest SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, 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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