Ocean Career: Seattle Aquarium Senior Aquarist—Diving

The Seattle Aquarium, a leading marine conservation organization, is looking for a Senior Aquarist—Diving role to join the Fish and Invertebrate Tropical team. Senior Aquarist staff act in a lead capacity, carrying out all aspects of the daily care in their assigned work area. This includes feeding, observation, training, administration of medication, medical treatment and record keeping. The position is responsible for upholding a high level of animal care and cleaning and maintaining animal habitats and back-of-house spaces.

The Aquarium’s fish and invertebrate population includes temperate and tropical water invertebrates, cartilaginous and teleost fishes. The FIT team is also responsible for the care of local and tropical plants. The Senior Aquarist furthers the Aquarium’s mission by providing oversight of and care for the animal collection and taking a leadership role on the FIT team.

Key functions:

  • Prepare, store, and distribute food according to established amounts, types, and diets; monitor feeding habits and report any changes or abnormalities.
  • Clean and perform routine maintenance and minor repair of animal exhibits and holding areas to assure the health of animals and the presentation of the species in an attractive environment. Maintain water quality to keep aquatic animals in a healthy condition.
  • Observe animals and evaluate behavior to determine physical and behavioral health and well-being.
  • Help to lead animal care operations in designated area, delegating and assigning work as necessary.
  • Maintain records and reports regarding assigned species including daily veterinary reports, exhibit maintenance, food consumption records and other reports specific to the assigned area.
  • Train, coordinate, and supervise the work of animal care and dive volunteers assigning and monitoring tasks and evaluating their work.
  • Train, coordinate, and direct the work of Assistant Aquarist and Aquarist-level staff by identifying, assigning and monitoring daily husbandry related tasks. Oversee and assist as needed with the preparation, storage and distribution of food according to established amounts, types and diets; monitor feeding habits and report any changes or abnormalities.
  • Lead and/or assist with animal acquisition, acclimation, and quarantine.
  • Plan, organize, and lead appropriate off-site collecting activities.
  • Lead and/or assist with administration of medications and treatments according to established procedures and veterinary instructions. Provide assistance in handling or restraining animals in accordance with established safety procedures as necessary to ensure animal welfare.
  • Coordinate, plan, and execute the Life Sciences aspects of special events and represent Life Sciences in appropriate planning meetings and committees.
  • Provide occasional response to animal emergencies or LSS alarm outside normally scheduled hours.
  • Value and prioritize the Aquarium’s commitment to advancing conversations, programs, and policies supporting our DEI and S.A.L.I.S.H. values. Participate in meaningful team discussions and support staff participation on DEI focused projects.
  • Provide leadership and guidance for Assistant Aquarist and Aquarist staff.
  • Support Assistant Aquarist and Aquarist level hiring.
  • Serve as an area lead in the absence of Supervisory or Curatorial staff.
  • Coordinate, plan, and execute the Life Sciences aspects of special events and represent Life Sciences in appropriate planning meetings and committees.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationships with staff throughout the Aquarium.
  • Achieve and maintain “Aquarium Scientific Diver” status in the Aquarium’s diving program within one year of hire. The “Aquarium Scientific Diver” classification allows for participation in surface-supplied and open-circuit diving as a diver within Seattle Aquarium animal habitats only.
  • Use SCUBA and surface-supplied air systems within Aquarium animal habitats to conduct animal care and exhibit maintenance tasks and interact with Aquarium guests.
  • Support diving activities within the Aquarium by serving as a surface tender or Designated Person in Charge (DPIC) for staff or volunteer divers.
  • Act as role model for compliance with all Aquarium safety protocols.
  • Assure the safety of animals, employees and the visiting public from injury or mishap.
  • Perform emergency first aid and CPR as needed and according to established guidelines.
  • Serve as a customer service liaison through daily contacts with visitors providing information and answering questions.
  • Act as institutional representative in AZA and other professional organizations.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required skills and experience:

We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education to meet minimum requirements.

  • B.A./B.S. degree in biology, marine biology, or related field an advantage.
  • Minimum of two years’ experience, preferably demonstrating progressive responsibilities involving animal care and team leadership in an aquarium or related environment. (AZA facility preferred).
  • Must be able to obtain CPR, first aid, and AED certifications.
  • Must have or be able to obtain a Washington State Driver’s License and be able to drive Aquarium and rental vehicles.
  • A technical knowledge of fish and invertebrate biology and technical knowledge of marine biology, water quality analysis, aquatic life support systems, and marine animal health.
  • A current and clear understanding of life support and mechanical systems for open and closed aquariums.
  • Ability to use fall restraint equipment, respirators and other appropriate safety gear; may be required to work in confined spaces.
  • Use basic math skills for quick and accurate calculation, such as water volume, feed amounts, drug dosages.
  • Experience using various computer software products: MS Word, Excel, Tracks (or other animal record keeping software), and internet browsers.
  • Pursuit of continued education, skills, and training expected; remain current on developments in animals care, team leadership, and DEI work both within and outside the organization; maintain proficiencies. Multilingual and multicultural communication skills and experience are preferred.

To qualify for evaluation as a Seattle Aquarium diver, candidates must meet the following general criteria:

  • Possess a scuba certification to the level of rescue diver (or equivalent) from a nationally recognized certification agency.
  • Possess a recent (less than 12 months) approval for recreational scuba diving signed by a physician (MD or DO).
  • Successfully pass an AAUS watermanship requirements swim test.
  • Pass a Seattle Aquarium scuba skills evaluation dive.

In addition, the new staff diver candidate must complete and pass the following aquarium diver physical exam, training classes and deadlines:

  • Pass a Seattle Aquarium occupational diving physical exam.
  • Complete emergency oxygen provider training within six months of hire.
  • Complete staff exhibit diver training and evaluation within six months of hire.

Working conditions:

  • Requires handling, working with, or exposure to large, potentially dangerous animals, animal diseases, and potentially hazardous chemicals.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk, hear, or smell.
  • Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Occasionally required to lift more than 50 pounds.
  • Able to spend 6 or more hours a day engaged in active, physical work.
  • Required to work outdoors year-round, near water, on wet and slippery surfaces and at heights.
  • Safely operate forklifts, scissor lifts, boom lifts, motorized pallet jacks, and cranes with Aquarium-provided training.
  • Safely operate a variety of vehicles including the small cars and trucks owned by the Aquarium and rental flatbed and box and trucks (up to 30’ bed length).
  • Must be willing to work evenings, nights, weekends, holidays, and occasional 24-hr shifts to accommodate routine Aquarium operations, business related travel, scheduled Aquarium events, and animal and building emergencies.

Salary and benefits:

$29 - $32 per hour. Dependent on experience. Please include salary expectations in your materials. Full-time staff are eligible for the Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, an employer-funded health reimbursement account, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, life insurance, long-term disability, 403b retirement fund with employer match, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, a Seattle Aquarium Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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