Become a Student

How to Apply to the EATM Program

This is a competitive program. We typically receive about 70-100 applications or more for the 54 spaces we have available. For students who will start the program in mid-August, the application period is from January 1 through March 15. Any applications received before or after these dates will not be acknowledged or returned. Only one new cohort of students start the program each year, in the Fall semester.

The EATM Program requires submission of a separate application form in addition to the Moorpark College admission process. The EATM application form is a Google form which is completed and submitted online (find the link below). In addition to the EATM application, official copies of all college transcripts are required, showing completion of the required prerequisites. All of these documents must be received by March 15, or your application will not be reviewed. You will need to request that your high school and colleges that you have attended send official transcripts directly to Moorpark College. Have those records sent to: Moorpark College Admissions and Records 7075 Campus Road Moorpark CA 93021 You will need to upload a scan of your unofficial copies of your college transcripts showing the successful completion of the five prerequisite courses. You will upload these scans when you submit the online application form. Prospective students will also be required to attend an EATM Applicant Informational Meeting (AIM). This AIM meeting will usually occur in March or April (we try to have this on a Monday or a Friday). Information concerning the AIM meeting will only be sent to those students who have all the requested application materials on file with us by March 15. Use this worksheet to prepare for completing the EATM Program online application:

Demands of the EATM Program

The EATM Program requires a continuous two-year commitment. EATM students are required to work at America's Teaching Zoo located on the Moorpark College campus, many long days and weekends, caring for the animals. This requirement is in addition to the time spent attending classes. Students typically spend about 50-60+ hours a week on campus.

Each student’s schedule will vary some each week. This makes it extremely difficult to hold down a regular job while attending the program. Considering the time spent in the zoo, in the classroom, and time studying, there is not much time left to the student for themselves. The applicant should make sure the other areas of their life are in order before starting the program.

Students work very closely with other students. Almost all the work done at the zoo is done as part of a team. This requires that the student have good interpersonal and communication skills.

The zoo is the home to some potentially dangerous animals. Safety is the primary concern of the program and there are rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure the safety of the animals, the students, the staff and faculty, and the zoo guests.

On occasion, students care for and nurse sick animals, including administering medications. Students are sometimes involved in evaluating the quality of life of geriatric or sick animals and may assist with the humane euthanasia of an animal when the time comes to end its life. Students frequently become very attached to many of the zoo's animals and this can take an emotional toll.

Students may be required to euthanize some rats, rabbits, or pigeons as food for some of the other animals.

Students should be able to do some moderately heavy lifting (up to 50 pounds) and physical work, including working outdoors in a wide range of weather conditions. Also, students should be relatively healthy, as they could potentially be exposed to zoonotic diseases.

Students are required to achieve a "C" grade in every course required while in the EATM program. Any grade lower then a "C" in any of the required courses, will result in dismissal from the EATM program.

There are extra costs necessary for zoo clothing, books, supplies, and off-campus trips. Public speaking skills are very important, as you will be required to give animal presentations in front of perhaps hundreds of people, maybe several times a week.

Academic Considerations

Since this is a very demanding program intellectually, there are several prerequisite courses that must be completed prior to applying. All students applying to the EATM Program must have these 5 college courses completed! These courses must be completed with a "C" grade or better.     These 5 courses DO NOT need to be taken at Moorpark College, but must be taken at an Accredited College. The unit values may differ at various colleges - that is fine - check with a Counselor if you have questions.

All grades in the 5 Prerequisite courses must be a "C" or above.
  --- And all 5 classes MUST appear on a College Transcript (or AP Test) -- High School classes DO NOT apply...!

These 5 prerequisites are (with the Moorpark College equivalents in parenthesis);

  • General or Introductory Biology or Zoology course with a lab     
        (must be 4 or more semester units OR  -   5 or more quarter units)
             (IGETC Area 5B & 5C)      (CSU GE Area B2 & B3)
            (this would be  BIOL M01   or    ZOO M01 at Moorpark College)

  • Freshman College English Composition      (IGETC Area 1A)     (CSU GE Area A2)
    (must be 3 or more semester units  - OR  - 4 or more quarter units)
           (this would be ENGL M01A at Moorpark College)

  • a Public Speaking course (Speech or Communication class)     (IGETC Area 1C)     (CSU GE Area A1)
    or Acting class
    (must be 3 or more semester units  -  OR  -  4 or more quarter units)
           (this would be COMM M01   or    THA M02A    at Moorpark College)

  • a Safety and/or  First Aid type course
    (must be 2 or more semester units  -  OR  -   3 or more quarter units)

            (this would be HE M05 at Moorpark College)

  • Intermediate Algebra Math course (or higher)   
              (any higher Math class would be one from IGETC Area 2   or   CSU GE Area B4)
    (must be 3 or more semester units  -  OR  -  4 or more quarter units)
           (this would be MATH M03 or higher at Moorpark College)
    (We STRONGLY recommend you have a higher level Math class, especially if you plan to go on for a higher  (i.e.  Bachelor)  degree.  You will need a College-level math class, something ABOVE the Intermediate Algebra class listed here, in order to get a Bachelor Degree.        (recommended higher Moorpark College Math classes would be - Math M07, M15, M05)

Other Recommended College courses (5)

These courses are great to have and will finish the General Education requirements toward an Associate of Science Degree at Moorpark College are:

  • a Physical Science course (intro Chemistry is recommended) - of 3 or more semester units     (IGETC Area 5A   or   CSU GE Area B1)
  • a United States History or U.S. Government class - of 3 or more semester units     (a class from US-1  or  US-2,   or US-3   from IGETC or CSU GE)
  • a "Fine Arts" type of class - of 3 or more semester units   (art history, music history, film appreciation, etc..)    (IGETC Area 3A    or   CSU GE Area C1)
  • a "Humanities" type class - of 3 or more semester units   (Philosophy, foreign language, etc..)      (IGETC Area 3B    or    CSU GE Area C2)
  • Physical Education or Dance courses - of 1 or more semester units

Note - these 5 recommended courses above will finish the General Education requirements for the Associate Degree at Moorpark College. These 5 recommended courses above do not need to be completed before you apply
   NOTE - Any student who has an Associate Degree or higher from an accredited college in the United States, we still need to see these 5 recommended courses on a college transcript, in order to receive the Associate Degree here at Moorpark College!  So be sure you did or will do these courses.

All courses above must be lower division (freshman/sophomore level). Courses equivalent to those indicated above, taken at accredited colleges, will be given transfer credit. Contact Chuck Brinkman, the EATM Counselor, if you have any questions concerning transfer credit. The EATM staff also strongly encourages students to complete what they can of the above recommended courses, before starting the program.

hese courses will help prepare you for the rigorous curriculum in the EATM program, and will also help to meet the requirements for your Associate Degree here at Moorpark College. Usually, about 40% of the students in the program have Associate Degrees, and 25% of the students who start our program already have a Bachelor's Degree. The age range of the students may vary from 18 - 50+. Students who have just graduated from high school, or those without an adequate academic preparation, may find the course work very difficult. EVERYONE who applies must have the 5 prerequisite courses completed at the time of application! You should also have a strong academic background. Please note that we have found that your high school and college grade-point-averages are very important in predicting your success while in the program. Students with better grades will be more successful here, since many of our courses are very demanding academically. 

Selection of Students

All students who have completed the application process at the appropriate time have an equal chance of admission to the EATM Program. The application process includes submitting a complete application form, the required transcripts, and attendance at an AIM meeting.

After the AIM meeting is concluded, if there are still more interested students than we have space available for, a random selection from all those who have attended the AIM meeting will be made. Since Moorpark College is a Public California Community College, we cannot base admission to the EATM Program on grades, experience, education or any other factor.

Quite a number of students withdraw themselves from consideration, after learning the long hours necessary, or who may be unable to support themselves financially. By the time a final random selection is made, the chance of being admitted is usually 50-75%.

We also create an "alternate list", in case any students who are admitted decide not to attend. During the random selection process you will be notified if you have been admitted, are on the alternate list, or have not been randomly selected for either. Alternates will be notified when and if a space becomes available. If you are not selected, you will need to reapply for subsequent years, if you are still interested.


2020 - 2021 Estimated College Costs per year for the EATM Program (California Residents & non-residents)

Item Estimated Cost
Moorpark College Registration Fees and Tuition  ($46 per unit) $1,500
Books and Supplies $2,000
Housing (Room and Board)
(Note - Students are responsible for their own housing.
The EATM Program and Moorpark College do not have on-campus housing.)
$7,000 to $9,000
(Biggest expense)
Transportation, Car Insurance, Gasoline, etc. $1,000+
Personal Expenses $2,000+
Total Expenses - California Residents (estimated - if renting a room) $13,000 to $16,000+

Non-California residents add $189 - $203 per unit for tuition

add $7,000+

Total non-resident expenses  (estimated) $20,000+

Note - You will benefit more from the EATM experience if you also have sufficient funds available for extra-curricular activities (field-trips, internships, etc.). Look into financial aid early, if you need it!!
Go online to apply for financial aid:

The costs above are only estimates...... students who live at home or with relatives will be able to budget considerably less.  Tuition may increase with little notice.

REMINDER - Moorpark College does not have dorms or any type of living arrangements for students. 
EATM students are responsible for finding their own housing (the EATM program will offer assistance - it is usually not difficult to find a place to live nearby).