The Oklahoma Aquarium offers students the opportunity to get involved with our day-to-day operations and work with staff. Students who participate in our intern programs will receive credit for their time spent working at the Oklahoma Aquarium.
General Program Requirements and Expectations (please also read specific requirements for the position you are applying):
- Currently enrolled in college or vocational program
- Major and/or high interest level for the field of the internship in which you are applying
- Good standing with your school
- Must receive some credit for hours worked
- Adhere to dress codes and all other rules established for all Oklahoma Aquarium employees and other staff
- Congenial working environment.
- College credit
- References and recommendations
- Opportunity to work in a world-class aquatic facility
Duties include, but are not limited to: animal husbandry, systems maintenance, plumbing, necropsy, collecting of local specimens, cleaning, information research, fish disease treatment, and special projects as they arise.
Position specific requirements: Biology major; 2.5 GPA; coursework in any of the following: biology, chemistry, botany, aquaculture, vertebrate zoology, and/or invertebrate zoology; prefer experience in home aquariums, animal care, fishing, and plumbing; typically 4 hour shifts (available shifts are: 7 days a week from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM), but must have some flexibility with schedule. Please also submit 2 letters of recommendation (one professional, one academic).
Learning is fun! Work closely with the Education Department to generate understanding and appreciation for the underwater world. Duties include, but are not limited to: research animal information, write animal fact sheets, plan banquets and events, assist with volunteer program materials and training, give presentations to school groups, write curriculum, prepare educator workshops, assist with program development, write material for graphic panels, and have fun!
Specific program requirements: Interest/major in biology and/or education; 2.5 GPA; coursework and experience in public speaking; computer skills in Word, Excel, and Internet; excellent oral and written communication skills; work 4-6 hour shifts, but also have flexibility with schedule. (including some weekends and evenings. Please also list 2 references that we may contact (full name and phone numbers.)
Be prepared to get wet! Assist biology staff in maintaining superb water quality for fish collection. Duties include, but are not limited to: daily collection and testing of water quality, chemical calculations, cleaning of lab and aquarium systems, building, working on weekends as needed.
Position specific requirements: Science major (biology, chemistry, etc.); 2.5 GPA; coursework in biology and inorganic chemistry; preferred knowledge and understanding of volumetric weights and measurements; knowledge of sterile lab procedures; typically 4 hour shifts (available shifts are: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday-Friday), but some flexibility is required. Please submit 2 letters of recommendation (one academic, one professional).
1. Download the intern application and release of liability.
2. Completely fill out the application and have your faculty sponsor/adviser sign it. Applicants must receive credit from their school to participate in this program.
3. Attach brief responses to the statements found on the application.
4. Enclose a transcript from your school. It does not have to be an official transcript.
5. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
6. Mail all necessary papers and information to:
Jenks, OK 74037
Attention: Volunteer Coordinator
A Look Into Your Future
Want to be a marine biologist? With the Oklahoma Aquarium in our community, you can explore the possibility of that career without having to leave home for the coastal regions. Working at an aquarium is fun, but it is hard work. The following information may be helpful in making the decision to pursue an aquarium career.
Bachelors degree required. Each has own area of expertise (Cold water, sharks, freshwater, etc.). Job requires flexibility. Biologist responsibilities include but are not limited to:
Appropriate water chemistry is crucial to the well-being of the animals. The water must be cleaned and circulated constantly in order to prevent toxic chemicals (ammonia from decaying food, waste, etc.) from building up and to oxygenate the water. We use floss bags and floss pads to help remove gunk from the water. These get to be really smelly and nasty and must be cleaned often. Usually we think of bacteria as a bad thing, but in the case of tank systems, there are certain bacteria that you need to have in the water. The bacteria helps convert toxic chemicals into less-toxic substances. Bacteria is added to the water in a bioball tower. The bioball tower is filled with blue spiky balls that allow surface area for bacteria to grow. Filtration is more complicated than this brief overview, but this gives you an idea into the types of knowledge required to work with animals in an aquarium.
Each type of animal has specific dietary needs. Some eat dried food (algae, blood worms, etc.) Some of our animals eat fresh food like rotifers, shrimp, or mussels. The sharks eat Salmon and Bonita and are fed 3-5% of their body weight per week.
Good record keeping skills are essential to the health of the animals.
Tanks must be cleaned often. Sometimes this involves diving in the tanks to scrub algae, sometimes it means scrubbing the shell of a slipper lobster with a toothbrush, and sometimes it means vacuuming the substrate.
Water samples are taken from each tank each day and tested for various aspects (salinity, pH, etc.) Adjustments and new water are made as needed. We have a person on staff that does nothing but test the water quality of all of our tank systems.
There are many other aquarium careers possible beyond biology. Other possible aquarium careers include: administration, catering, education, events and production, guest services, life support, maintenance. The biggest requirement for any aspect of aquarium work is passion! If you share our passion, we invite you to explore the possibilities found at the Oklahoma Aquarium.