Aquarium Science Technology

NOTE: DCCC is still accepting students in the Zoo and Aquarium Science programs for Fall 2018.

What you can get

Aquarium Science: Associate in Applied Science Degree Program
Aquarium Science: Diploma Program
Certificate: Aquarium Science Technology (High School Career and College Promise)

Visit our college catalog for more information about program options, required courses, and credit hours.

Aquarium ScienceWhat it's about

The Aquarium Science Technology curriculum prepares students for employment in public aquaria, or other settings requiring aquatic animal care, breeding, education/conservation, or health of exotic animals in public and commercial settings. Some of the potential employment opportunities include:

  • Entry Level Aquarist
  • Aquatic Animal Caregiver/Caretaker
  • Aquarium diver
  • Water quality lab technician
  • Life support system technician
  • Marine Science interpreter
  • Outreach Educator
  • Aquaculture technician
  • Aquarium Service technician

Courses you'll take

Course work emphasizes anatomy, physiology, reproduction, behavior, and nutrition of aquatic species. Students will gain practical knowledge and hands-on experiences regarding husbandry skills, exhibit maintenance, life support design and operation, water quality assessments, aquatic animal enrichment, handling, and capture skills. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with terrestrial species such as snakes, reptiles and amphibians commonly found in aquarium outreach settings.

What you'll gain

Graduates of the curriculum should qualify for entry-level employment opportunities in a variety of settings, including aquaria, zoos, nature science centers, and aquatic animal research facilities.

Aquarium Science

This program prepares individuals to promote conservation of marine and aquatic habitats through public awareness and appreciation. Graduates will gain the skills and knowledge to manage aquatic habitats at aquarium/zoological facilities for recreational, commercial, and ecological purposes. Course work includes instruction in wildlife biology, marine/aquatic biology, freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, the design and operation of natural and artificial wildlife habitats, natural resource conservation, marine biology, aquatic pathophysiology, and vertebrate zoological specializations such as mammalogy, herpetology, ichthyology and others. 


Upon successful completion of this program, the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate the ability to follow written protocols.
2.  Communicate with public in a professional manner.
3.  Effectively apply principles of Environmental Enrichment in a zoo or aquarium setting.
4.  Demonstrate skills valued in the workplace.

Admission Requirements: 

Aquarium ScienceApplicants for admission in the Aquarium Science Technology program must have: 

  1. Completed and submitted an Application for Admission to DCCC as described in the Zoo & Aquarium Science packet.
  2. Completed and submitted Zoo & Aquarium Science “Intent to Enroll” form.
  3. Graduated from high school or have an Adult High School Diploma or have passed the High School Equivalency with an equivalency certification which meets minimum requirements set by the State of North Carolina. Official high school transcript and copy of AHS diploma/High School Equivalency certificate and official college transcripts, where applicable, must be on file in the Admissions Office.
  4. Physical health and emotional health requirements successfully met and documented as part of the program application process.
  5. Achieved grades of “C” or higher in any required course in the curriculum taken prior to entry into the Zoo & Aquarium Science program.

Performance Standards

In addition to DCCC requirements and course objectives, there are professional standards that encompass communication and motor skills and professional conduct that are essential for the competent study and practice of aquarium science. These performance standards are available in the Zoo & Aquarium Science SOP Handbook.

Criminal Background Check

A criminal background check and/or drug testing may be required by the internship animal facility prior to participation in the cooperative education experience.

If any internship animal facility refuses to allow the student to participate in experiences in that facility, the student may not be able to progress in the program.

Probation and Suspension

Zoo & Aquarium Science students are subject to the same probation and suspension policies as all other students enrolled in the College.

Since requirements for progression in the ZAS program are in addition to the general requirements of the College, a student suspended from the program is not necessarily suspended from the College. Students who are eligible to do so may continue their supporting courses and apply for readmission to the program at a later time or may elect to change their major.

Career Information

The Zoo and Aquarium Science Program is designed for students interested in employment in zoological parks, aquaria, or other settings requiring animal care, breeding, education/conservation, or health of exotic animals.

Jobs available for Aquarium Science Track:

  • Entry Level Aquarist
  • Aquatic Animal Caregiver/Caretaker
  • Aquarium diver
  • Water quality lab technician
  • Life support system technician
  • Marine Science interpreter
  • Outreach Educator
  • Aquaculture technician
  • Aquarium Service technician

Zoo and Aquarium Science Logo

Note: The Aquarium Science program will admit students every year.

School of General Studies
and Academic Support 

Question about this program?
Our Counselors are here to help! 

Reba Smith
Davidson Campus - Last names A-G
336.249.8186 ext.6121

Donna Newhouse
Davidson Campus - Last names H-O
336.249.8186 ext. 6418

Keri Statham
Davidson Campus - Last names P-Z
336.249.8186 ext. 6710

Sandra Porter
Davie Campus
336.249.8186 ext. 4853

Gainful Employment Data