Captive Animals Certificate III and IV: What’s the Difference?

by Marianne Stenger
Posted: December 22, 2015

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If you’re considering a career in zookeeping or wildlife management and are hoping to take the next step in your career with one of the Captive Animals courses from Open Colleges, you may be wondering how Certificate III differs from Certificate IV.

Which course is more suited to your desired career path? Undoubtedly, it begins with where your passion lies. Sure, you may adore all creatures in the animal kingdom and that's perfect.

But does your enthusiasm extend to leading a team and leveraging your senior leadership traits? Or does your zeal for zookeeping and wildlife mean that you exclusively desire to care for our furry, scaly and feathered friends?

With this in mind, we’ve laid out the differences between these two courses along with a few pointers to help you decide which one might be right for you.

Captive Animals Certficate III and IV

Course materials

Certificate III and IV cover much of the same ground in terms of learning to work within a captive animal facility, and students of both courses will learn essential skills such as:

  • Preparing and maintaining animal housing

  • Maintaining animal health and wellbeing

  • Assisting with capturing, restraining and moving animals

  • Monitoring animal reproduction

  • Caring for young animals

  • Preparing and presenting information to the public

In addition to these essential skills, however, Certificate IV will also help students develop useful transferrable skills such as:

  • Communicating effectively as a workplace leader 

  • Leading effective workplace relationships 

  • Planning, organising and facilitating learning in the workplace

  • Conducting community awareness programs

  • Implementing and monitoring environmentally sustainable work practices

Captive Animals Certificate III_Certificate IV

Career outcomes

To figure out which course would best suit your needs, you’ll need to ask yourself what your career goals are. What sort of environment do you picture yourself working in ten years from now? Do you enjoy working behind the scenes or are you happier in a leadership role?

Certificate III in Captive Animals is aimed at entry-level students who are passionate about and want to learn the basics of working with and caring for captive animals. If your end goal is to work in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks and other captive animal facilities, this would be the perfect course for you.

Certificate IV in Captive Animals, on the other hand, is more suited to those who want to move into a senior zookeeper or manager’s role. So if in addition to your love of animals, you think you have what it takes to lead a team, mentor and teach other staff members, develop standard operating procedures and learning programs, and generally take on more responsibility, Certificate IV might be a better fit.

Learn more about zookeeping salaries here or download your free captive animals course guide via the form below.


Marianne Stenger

Marianne Stenger

Marianne Stenger is a London-based freelance writer and journalist with extensive experience covering all things learning and development. She’s particularly interested in the psychology of learning and how technology is changing the way we learn. Her articles have been featured by the likes of ABC Education, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, and Psych Central. Follow her on Twitter @MarianneStenger.

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