Science, Health and Mathematics


Aaron Cobaugh
Program Coordinator
Location: C-251
Phone: 716-614-6424

Animal Management, A.A.S.


The NCCC Animal Management Program is primarily a zookeeper and aquarist training program, allowing graduates to work in public zoos and aquariums, but also offers students the ability to work in other non-zoo settings such as shelters, sanctuaries, and even veterinary offices as veterinary assistants. Modern zookeepers and aquarists focus on the husbandry (i.e. day-to-day care) needs of many different animals, including rare and endangered species. Professionals in the field are required to be knowledgeable in all aspects of animal anatomy, physiology and behavior, as well as the many facets of zoo and aquarium function, including enclosure design and usage.

Program coursework is heavily biased towards biology, and is coupled with weekly internship experience at one of several local animal facilities, with the Buffalo Zoo and Aquarium of Niagara serving as the primary internship sites. Other intern sites include the Primate Sanctuary in Niagara Falls, Lakeview Animal Sanctuary, SPCA shelters, a kennel, a stable, and one or more local vet offices. The internships provide extremely valuable and practical "hands-on" experience where students are exposed to professional practices, tools and techniques. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded their Associate of Applied Science degree, and can immediately obtain employment in the field, or they can further their education through the program's 2+2 articulation with Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, where they can earn their Bachelor's Degree in Biology with specializations in animal behavior, conservation, ecology or zoo biology.

Program Goals and Objectives

  • To prepare students for successful entry-level employment at a zoo, aquarium or animal care facility.
  • To develop the students' verbal, spoken, written and visual communications skills and abilities within the framework of a liberal arts education.
  • To assist students in meeting 4 to 5 of the 10 SUNY General Education Requirements.

2020 Physical Forms & Instructions


NCCC's Animal Management Program is one of only eight, two-year zookeeping-related degree programs in the United States, and the program's articulation is with Canisius College, one of only six four-year zookeeping-related degree programs in the country. The college also offers campus housing, allowing both local and non-local students the ability to participate in an incredibly unique program, one of only two in the northeastern part of the country. Students will also accumulate 420-450 hours of internship experience upon completion of the program, providing them incredibly valuable professional experience. Our graduates can be found working in zoos and aquariums throughout the country, and even outside of it, with many others working at various other animal facilities here in Western NY and many other locations in the U.S.