Frequently Asked Questions.....

Below are many of the frequently asked questions we receive. They will help you to understand more about Moorpark College and the EATM Program.  Read through all this info - there is a great deal of good information here...

Here are some questions we get asked - scroll down for the answers....

1 - Tell me about Moorpark College.
2 - Tell me about the certificates and degrees offered by Moorpark College and the EATM Program.
3 - What is the difference between a Certificate and a Degree?
4 - Does the EATM Program have an options or specializations? 
            What kind of Certificate and/or degree can I get?
5 - Are there other college programs elsewhere, similar to the EATM Program?
6 - I am interested in Veterinary School... Is EATM a good place to get started?
7 - What options are available to me, after I complete the EATM Program?
8 - What is involved in performing the jobs (animal trainers, zoo keepers, wildlife educators) listed above?
9 - What is the demand for people with an Associate Degree in Exotic Animal Training?
10 - What is the average income for the different positions the program prepares people for?
11 - How long is the EATM Program?
12 - What is the cost of the EATM Program?
13 - Can I work while attending the EATM Program?
14 - So how and I expected to pay for the program, if I really can't work?
15 - How do I become a California resident?
16 - Will the EATM Program give me an advantage over other schools or programs?
17 - What are some of the strong points of the EATM Program?
18 - What are some other things I should be aware of in the EATM Program?
19 - Do I really have to euthanize some animals during the EATM Program?
20 - What is the dress code of the EATM Program?
21 - Tell me about the students in the EATM Program.
22 - What is the difference between the EATM courses, and the Animal Science courses?
23 - I am from a foreign country - an International Student - How do I apply?
24 - I want to come to Moorpark, but I live far away and will need to relocate. 
            How easy is it to find a place to live?
25 - Do I need the SAT or ACT tests to apply to the EATM Program?
26 - I have a learning or other type of disability - can I still be in the EATM Program?
27 - Can I visit America's Teaching Zoo and the EATM Program?
28 - What are some helpful hints if I want to work with animals?
29 - How should I prepare for admission into the EATM Program?  How difficult is the EATM Program?
30 - Preparation - suggested college classes to take.
31 - Health info - from the Moorpark College Health Center.
32 - Will my Certificates and/or Degrees in Exotic Animal Training be all that I need?
33 - What is the typical week like for students in the EATM Program at America's Teaching Zoo?
34 - Do you take volunteers at America's Teaching Zoo?   Interns or Internship programs.
35 - How do I apply?
36 - How do I get a Moorpark College general catalog?

Of course, if you have additional questions not answered here - PLEASE, send us an email and ask..!!!   ---

  1. Tell me about Moorpark College.
    • Moorpark College is a Public 2-year Community College, one of the 112 Public Community Colleges in California. The California Community College System is the largest higher educational system in the nation comprised of 112 colleges with an enrollment of well over 2.6 million students per year.  Nationwide, about 8+ million students were enrolled at the nation's 1,173 community colleges in Fall 2017.  Community colleges supply workforce training, prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions and offer opportunities for personal enrichment and lifelong learning.  California Community Colleges credential 80% of the state's firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians, and 70% of California nurses. Almost 60% of all California State University graduates and 30% of all University of California graduates transfer from a California Community College.  Community college students who graduate with an Associate's degree can expect to earn an average $1.6 million during a career, an increase of $400,000 over a high school degree.  Community college students who earn a vocational degree or certificate saw their wages jump from $25,600 to $47,571 three years after earning their degree, an increase of 86 percent.  California Community Colleges are the State's largest workforce training provider, conferring over 125,000 degrees and certificates each year.
    • bobcatLocated in Southern California, Moorpark College is part of the Ventura County Community College District. There are 3 Colleges (Moorpark College, Ventura College, and Oxnard College) that make up this district.
    • Ventura County is located on the coast, just north of Los Angeles County, and south of Santa Barbara County. Ventura County is mostly a rural, agricultural area. Ventura County has a population of about 800,000.  Moorpark is a city in Ventura County in Southern California, founded when the application for the Moorpark Post Office was granted on June 1, 1900.
    • MOORPARK COLLEGE, one of three colleges in the Ventura County Community College District, was founded in 1967. It is set on 150 beautiful acres, nestled in the foothills on the southeastern flank of Ventura County, about 40 miles from UCLA, and approximately 75 miles from UC Santa Barbara. It is also a short drive from CSU Northridge, CSU Channel Islands, and California Lutheran University. Moorpark College was recognized in the Huffington Post in March of 2015 as the fourth-best community college in the nation. It has an excellent reputation for university transfer preparation, and its signature career/technical programs include nursing, radiation technology, biotechnology, and exotic animal training, which incorporates the world-renowned America’s Teaching Zoo. The college also offers a dynamic range of classes and programs in the visual and performing arts, and its pristine athletic fields and mild climate provide an excellent home for student athletes.
    • Moorpark College has a total enrollment of about 15,000 students; the majority attend part-time. About 200 international students each year enhance the cultural diversity of the college. 55% of Moorpark College students are women: 45% are men.
    • Moorpark College is located about 14 miles from the ocean (as a crow flies), and has cool winters, and warm summers. Temperature range is from a low in the 40's (occasionally in the 30's) (F) in the winter, up into the 80's or even 90's and 100's (F) in the summer.  Moorpark College boasts one of only two teaching Zoos in the United States.
    • There are no dorms, and most students are from the local area. Any out-of-the-area students can find housing in the local communities of Moorpark, Simi Valley, or Thousand Oaks.
    • Tuition for California residents is the same at all California Community Colleges - currently at $46 per unit... (+ a few additional fees - Health Fee, Associated Student fee, parking fee - if needed)
    • Non-California residents pay about $265 per unit.
    • International Students pay about $295 per unit.
    • The Moorpark College Catalog can be found at this link below - This will tell you all about Moorpark College, our programs and degrees, and everything you want to know about us.
      View a fact sheet about Moorpark College here
    • Moorpark College is a fully accredited public community college (Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges) providing quality academic and career/vocational programs since 1967.
    • Set on 150 rolling green acres on the city of Moorpark's northeast boundary.
    • Hundreds of outstanding faculty, most with master's degrees or doctorates, provide academic excellence and innovative instruction. An equal number of classified staff provides support for students and programs, providing optimal customer service.
    • Admission is open to any adult capable of profiting from instruction. More than 1,500 classes in 100 areas of study are offered each semester.
    • Moorpark College ranks consistently as one of the top transfer and associate degree producing institutions in California. In fact, Moorpark College is number 1 in transfer among similar sized community colleges in California.   In the 2008-2009 Academic year, Moorpark College was ranked # 14,  of all Colleges in the United States for transferring students into the University of California system.
      View information about Moorpark College here.
    • The city of Moorpark became Ventura County's tenth city in July 1983.
    • Moorpark is 12.44 square miles in size and is located in the southwest part of Ventura County, just 50 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Airport is 50 miles, the Burbank Airport is 35 miles, Disneyland is 75 miles, Santa Barbara is 65 miles, UCLA is 40 miles away.
    • The City Hall elevation is 580 feet above sea level.
    • The average annual rainfall is 15.85 inches.
    • The city of Moorpark has a population of 34,887.
    • The median household income is $84,000.

  2. Tell me about the Certificates and Degrees offered by Moorpark College and the EATM program.
    First, let's discuss what Moorpark College (a California Public Community College) can offer. Community Colleges, by definition, are able to offer only the first 2 years of courses leading toward a Bachelor (or 4-year) degree. All courses offered at Community Colleges are lower division (Freshman and Sophomore level). Community Colleges in general are able to award the Associate Degree, which is a 2-year college degree. This degree may be:
    • Associate of Arts Degree (AA Degree)
    • Associate of Science Degree (AS Degree)
    • Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS Degree)
    • Associate Degree for Transfer  (ADT)
    • or any of several other Associate Degrees.
    Moorpark College only offers programs leading to the Associate of Arts Degree (AA), and the Associate of Science Degree (AS).
    In order to receive an Associate Degree, the student must complete General Education courses (English, Math, Science, Social Sciences, Arts, etc.) and also some specific courses in a major (the EATM major, for example).  Students in the EATM major will earn the Associate of Science Degree, in Exotic Animal Training and Management.

    View a bookmark we created, with EATM info here.   EATM Bookmark-info
  3. What is the difference between a Certificate and a degree?
    The Certificate is the first College level piece of paper you can receive for completing a specific set of course-work. By completing just the required courses in a certain program (or major -  the EATM major for example), the student is awarded a Certificate.
    If the student has completed the required courses in the program AND the general education requirements of the College, they are awarded an Associate Degree.
    Students in the EATM program, can earn a Certificate - by completing the required EATM courses only, and they can earn an Associate of Science Degree, by completing the required EATM courses AND the necessary general education courses. Most students get both a certificate and degree at the same time! Then they have several diplomas to hang on their walls at home.
    Students who have completed the general education courses at other colleges are awarded transfer credit - contact  Chuck Brinkman, the EATM Counselor for more information about transfer credit.
  4. Does the EATM program have any options or specializations? What kinds of certificates and/or degrees can I get?
    parrot with handlerThere is one specific curriculum of the EATM courses, which incorporate several areas we focus on here at the EATM program.  There are also a few extra optional courses the students may take, if they are interested.  The Certificate & Degree we offer is a General EATM Degree.

    The coursework for the Certificate & Degree will expose the students to most/all situations they might encounter as animal professionals.

    We focus on and specialize in several areas:  Animal Training, Wildlife Education & Zookeeping.

    The EATM Program can be considered a Vocational Program - which means part of our larger focus is that we train people to find jobs in the animal field.  We help students/graduates find employment.
  5. Are there other college programs elsewhere, similar to the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program?
    Not really. There are a few somewhat similar programs , but the EATM program at Moorpark College is really the only "hands-on" program that teaches you how to train exotic (and domestic) animals. There are other college programs elsewhere in the United States that do have some type of animal-related programs.  And, there are private companies (non-college) that do animal-training programs on a short-term basis.  Click here to get a list of some of these programs.
  6. I am interested in Veterinary School... is EATM a good place to get started?
    Yes and No. We usually have 1-2 students each year who have completed the EATM program enter Vet school. But, the EATM program is not the most direct route to Vet school. Students whose immediate goal is Veterinary School, should pursue a transfer program, usually in Biology or Zoology. To be eligible for Vet school, you should/must have a Bachelor's Degree (usually in a science-related major), and very good grades..!!!  If your primary goal is Vet school, it would be best for you to attend a 4-year college as soon as possible. Look at the link to other animal-related programs above, for more info about Vet school.
    The EATM program does give students excellent hands-on experience with animals - something that many vet schools look for in the selection process. As mentioned, several students each year from the EATM Program go on to Vet school in the future.  But, they all either had, or did go on and get a Bachelor Degree, in order to be admitted to Vet school.
    Los Angeles Pierce College, in Woodland Hills, California - has an EXCELLENT program at preparing students for Veterinary School - click the "Other Programs" link to the left.
  7. What options are available to me, after I complete the EATM program?
    There are many things you can do after completion of the EATM program. I will lump them into 2 broad categories:
    1. Seek employment in the animal industry
      (Movie/TV work, Zoos, Theme Parks, Wildlife Education/Outreach, plus more)
    2. Continue your education

    Now, let's explore these in more depth.
    1. Seek employment in the animal industry
      Students who are interested in finding work in the animal industry (and by animal industry I mean any situation where there are animals present) after graduation, will find there are many options available to them. The Moorpark College EATM Program has excellent relations with many zoos and private animal companies. There are always jobs available for the graduates, as long as they are willing to relocate. Graduates work as animal trainers, zoo keepers, and wildlife educators at zoos and other animal facilities.
      sweetpea and melissa and kikiOne drawback is that usually the starting salary for new hires is not very high.
      Here is a partial listing of places where EATM graduates have been employed: Universal Studios (California, Florida, and Japan), Sea World (San Diego, Ohio, & Florida), San Diego Wild Animal Park, San Diego Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, Brookfield Zoo (Chicago), Folsom Zoo (CA), Sacramento Zoo (CA), Chaffee Zoo (CA), Mystic Aquarium (CN), The Bronx Zoo (NY), State Fish and Wildlife Departments, American Humane Association, Guide Dogs for the Blind (San Rafael, California), Animal Actors of Hollywood, Studio Animal Services, Steve Martin's Working Wildlife, the United States Navy - as civilian contractors training marine mammals (Dolphins, Sea Lions, Beluga Whales), Dolphin Quest - a Dolphin interaction program - (Hawaii, Bermuda, & Tahiti), Woburn Safari Park (Great Britain), the Six Flags Amusement Parks (especially Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo & Six Flags Magic Mountain, California,), Disney's Animal Kingdom (Florida), Siegfried & Roy (Las Vegas), the MGM Lion Habitat and other Las Vegas animal venues, Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, California), Zoo-to-You (Paso Robles, CA), Wild Things (Auburn, California), Wild About Cats (Auburn, California), Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, plus many, many other zoos, aquariums, and animal companies all over the world. EATM graduates also find employment with Veterinarians, at animal hospitals, wildlife rescue organizations, animal shelters, animal control positions, and other governmental and private organizations. Quite a few EATM graduates have started their own animal companies as well.
      Many EATM graduates also train animals for movies and television work. Graduates have worked on many of the shows on "Animal Planet", the TV series "7th Heaven" and "Dharma and Greg", numerous commercials with animals (the AFLAC duck, Petsmart dogs and cats, GEICO squirrels), movies such as "5 Below",  "Hidalgo", "Doctor Doolittle", "Harry Potter" (all 5 movies), "101 & 102 Dalmatians", "Sled Dogs", "Evan Almighty", "Pirates of the Caribbean" (all 4 movies), Hotel for Dogs, and many, many other movies, television shows and commercials. In fact, almost any time you see an animal on TV or in film, one of our EATM graduates is working behind the scenes.
    2. Continue your education
      Moorpark College has several programs in place to assist EATM graduates with furthering their education.
      • California State University Online - has many programs students can do ONLINE - for their Bachelor of Science or higher degrees.  Click on this link for more information about these programs at CSU.
        CSU Online
      • We also have a great arrangement in place with Southwestern Missouri State University (SMSU), located in Springfield, Missouri. This program is for our students who already have a Bachelor Degree in a science area. This is a Masters of Science Program in Reproductive Physiology, through the College of Agriculture at SMSU. The advisor of our alumni in this program is Dr. Dennis Schmidt, perhaps one of the foremost authorities in the world on elephants. One of our EATM alumni graduated with her Masters Degree from this program in May 2001.  During the course of this program, she is now one of only 6 people in the world who has ever performed artificial insemination on an elephant !!  She did her thesis on some of the Cheetahs they also worked with.
      Transfer Programs:
      • Moorpark College has a reputation of being one of the best colleges at Transferring students to 4-year institutions. We have Articulation Agreements in place with all the Universities of California (UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, etc.) and all the California State Universities (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego State, etc.).

        Moorpark College also has Guarantee Transfer Agreements in place with many of these Universities (specifically UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Merced, and others). If the EATM student is interested in furthering their education, they should speak to the EATM Counselor early.
      • We are currently working toward an agreement for students to transfer directly after the EATM Program, into Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for the "Animal Science" major.

  8. What is involved in performing the jobs (animal trainers, zoo keepers, and wildlife educators) listed above?
    Trainers train animals for live-animal shows, movies and TV, and in zoos and research facilities. Zoo keepers maintain animals in zoos. Wildlife Educators present animals in educational presentations such as school assemblies.
  9. What is the demand for people with an Associate Degree in Exotic Animal Training?
    We typically graduate 45-50 people each year. About 80%+ of them find work in the field within 6 months of graduation. Many of the rest continue their education.
  10. What is the average income for the different positions the program prepares people for?
    The range is very wide, but in general, starting salary is not very high... maybe $40,000 - $48,000 per year. Many companies may start people at from $15.00 - $22.00 per hour. This is not a great occupation to enter if you want to become rich. You should do this line of work because of your love for animals. Although, once you find your "niche," many graduates earn upwards of $60,000 per year...a few earn over $100,000 per year.   While you may not become wealthy, you will have experiences that other people can only dream about.  This program helps to fulfill dreams.
  11. How long is the EATM Program?
    The program is about 21 months long  (approximately ~630 days). The program begins in August. Graduation is in May  (a year and a half+ later).
    There are no days off - the students are responsible for caring for the collection of animals 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  12. What is the cost of the EATM program?
    We estimate the total cost at about $13,000 - $17,000 per year for California residents. Non-residents and international students pay about $5,000 more per year - (about $17,000 - $21,000 total per year).
    Most of this cost will be housing and associated expenses (rent, food, utilities, etc).
    Tuition and College fees for California residents are minimal - will be $46 per semester unit.  So your actual College fees for residents will only be about $1500 per year... the bulk of the estimated costs are your living expenses (rent, food, gas, utilities etc.).
    (Reminder - Moorpark College does not offer housing. We do not have dorms. Students are responsible for finding their own living arrangements, although we do offer assistance.  It is not difficult at all to find housing in the local area.  Plus, Moorpark and the surrounding cities are some of the safest in the Nation.)

    If you are applying from outside California, you need to be aware that tuition at California Community Colleges is SIGNIFICANTLY higher for non-residents. You should make sure you will have adequate funds available if you will be coming here from other States or Countries. Look into sources of funding early...!!!!!

    As a comparison -
    For 2017-2018 the estimated fees per year for full-time undergraduate resident students are;
    -- At California Community Colleges --- $1,500     Non-California residents can expect to add $5,000.
    -- At California State Universities ----- $10,000
    -- At the University of California ------ $19,000
    -- At Private California Colleges/Universities ------ $20,000 to $50.000+

    These numbers above are just the tuition fees - housing, books, etc will add significantly to this cost..
  13. Can I work while attending the EATM program?  Work and Studying......
    It is possible, but difficult and is not recommended for most students. The program will keep you busy during the days. Some students do have evening or night jobs. But your hours at the zoo may vary every week, so it is tough to hold down a regular work schedule. And don't forget - you also need time to study and write papers! This is college, after all! You must maintain "C" grades or better in ALL your EATM & ANSC classes, or you will be dismissed from the program.

    While not required, it is also good to have your own computer, as there are papers to write and many notes to take and organize. The college has MANY computer labs available for student use (free) but it is still nice to have your own computer at home.  Much of the College and classrooms are also WIFI equipped, if you have your own laptop...!!!
  14. lacey and jenSo how am I expected to pay for the program, if I really can't work?
    Several ways.... we encourage all our students who even think they might need help paying for the program to look into Financial Aid. The FAFSA form is the free Federal Financial Aid form - available at all high schools and colleges (and on-line as well). This is one possibility.
    It also helps to save as much of your money now as possible, or to have supportive parents, spouses, relatives, boyfriends, girlfriends - find anyone who has money!
    Bottom line - you will want to make sure your finances are in order before you begin the program. Almost 75% of the students who do not complete the program, leave due to financial reasons.
    If you think you may need financial aid while attending the EATM program, it is EXTREMELY important that you apply for financial aid early. You want to complete the FAFSA well BEFORE the March 2 deadline, to have a chance at receiving the most financial aid, when you begin the program in the Fall.
    You can also search for Scholarships yourself (again, look on-line). Entering "college scholarships" on any search engine will yield hundreds of sites. Some good web sites to start include; and -- Good luck.
  15. How do I become a California Resident?
    To be considered a California Resident for tuition purposes, you must prove you have been living in California for 366 continuous days prior to the beginning of the term. Proof that you will need to show our Admissions Office would be such things as: California Driver's License, car registration, car insurance, utility bills, rent receipts, etc. Contact our Registration/Admissions Office here at Moorpark College for a complete list.
  16. Will the EATM program give me an advantage over any other schools or programs?
    YES! There are facilities which contact us first when they have openings, because they prefer to hire our graduates. We have a job board at the EATM office, and also a posting on-line for graduates of the program.
    For example, in March of 2001, the San Diego Zoo had openings for 7 summer positions. They received over 200 applications. All 7 of the people they hired were from the EATM graduating class of May 2001. joel at seaworld
    Many of our students want to train marine mammals - we send graduates all over the world to do this, especially to the Caribbean - several new Dolphin Program hired 4 graduates in the summer of 2001, and more in 2002, 2003 & 2004.
    The May 2003 graduates currently have many wonderful jobs. One is working in Shamu Stadium at Sea World in San Diego, training the Killer Whales! (His photo is to the right) Several others are with Universal Studios - both in Orlando and Hollywood. Others are with various Marine Mammal facilities in the U.S. and abroad. Graduates from the class of 2004 are working training Guide Dogs in California, with marine mammals at Sea World Orlando, Sea Life Marine Park in Hawaii, Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California - and many other facilities. Graduates from the class of 2008 have jobs at - Sea World San Diego, the U.S. Navy training sea lions, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, Universal Studios Hollywood - and many other places. 
    Graduates from the Class of 2009 are working at; Colombia Zoo - Coordinator of Training, Discovery Kingdom - Vallejo California, Out of Africa - Arizona, Predators in Action - California, Shedd Aquarium - Chicago IL, MGM Lion Habitat Ranch - Las Vegas Nevada,  and more.
    EATM graduates get jobs everywhere...!!!!
    We also receive many job listings each week, from companies and organizations who want to hire our graduates, and we maintain an on-line listing of jobs - available to graduates of the program.
  17. What are some of the strong points of the EATM program?
    The main focus of the EATM program is Animal Training. This program teaches students the principles and techniques of animal training, using a "hands-on" approach with the animals at America's Teaching Zoo, located on the campus of Moorpark College. Just about every animal in the collection (of almost 200 animals) on the 5 acre zoo is "assigned" to one or several students. The students are responsible for the care of their assigned animals, and for training their animals to do new behaviors or for animal husbandry. There are specific "Animal Training" classes we offer, where the students receive individual instruction from our "animal training" faculty members. The students receive a grade, based on how well their animal performs. The knowledge the student gains from our training classes can be applied to most every species of animal. So, if you want to be a marine mammal trainer, we can teach you how to reach your goal, using many other types of animals (we currently do not have any marine mammals - our California Sea Lion passed away a short while back).
    The secondary focus of the EATM program is on Wildlife Education. While both animal training and wildlife education often go hand-in-hand, Wildlife Education is a big part of any type of work in the animal industry these days. This part of the program teaches students how to do educational shows in front of an audience. Public speaking skills, knowledge of animal facts, and the ability to improvise, or as the staff likes to say - the "F" word - "Flexibility" - is one of the key points learned in this program.
    Finally, by the time the students have completed the program, they are able to combine all the skills they have learned, and apply the techniques to any type of situation where animals are present, and to almost any species of animal, anywhere in the world.
  18. What are some other things I should be aware of in the EATM program?
    alligator with karen and lauraYou must be able to get along with people. Often times, people want to go to work with animals, because they do not want to be around, or deal with other people. This is definitely not the case here at the EATM program. You will be around people all day. You must be able to get along with fellow students, faculty, your co-trainers, and the public, in order to take care of the animals at our zoo. If you are unable or unwilling to do this, you will not last long at the EATM program. In fact, do not even apply!
    You will also be doing educational presentations to school groups of pre-school through high-school aged students, and also giving tours of the zoo to these same groups. This is a requirement of the program. If you are not ready to do this, please do not apply to the EATM program.
    There are long, hard days associated with the EATM program. You will be arriving at the zoo most mornings at 6am to clean and feed. Then on weekdays you will have classes much of the day from 9am until 4pm. Then you will be feeding again in the evening. Saturday and Sunday, when the zoo is open to the public, you will be doing Wildlife Education shows, interacting with the public, as well as the cleaning and feeding again. This program will keep you very busy.

    Remember - "The Animals Always Come First"  here at America's Teaching Zoo.
  19. Do I really have to euthanize some animals during the program?
    YES. This is a requirement of the program. In order to feed some of the carnivores, snakes, birds-of-prey and other animals we have in the collection, it is necessary to euthanize their prey items (rats, rabbits, pigeons and others). All students must perform these tasks, regardless of any personal or religious beliefs. You are instructed in the humane ways of euthanization.  If you are unwilling to do this, then the EATM Program is not right for you.
  20. What is the dress code of the EATM Program?
    Students in the EATM Program are required to be in their EATM uniform, anytime they are on zoo grounds, on field trips, and at all other times they are representing America's Teaching Zoo. Students are expected to be role models, are always on duty, and are expected to present a responsible and respectable image to the public. To this end, the EATM Program has strict policies regarding appearance and dress, for two reasons: 1) for safety 2) to follow animal industry standards.
    An example, as stated in America's Teaching Zoo Procedure Manual, which all EATM students must adhere to:
    "Jewelry should be kept to a minimum and should be conservative.  No dangling earrings over one inch in length, no more than two earrings/piercings per ear, and no other visible body piercings (other than the ear) are allowed."

    Moorpark College is a non smoking campus.
    We may institute a "no visible tattoos" policy in the near future... so be discrete with any tattoos.  (We recommend you do not get/have any - for now.)
    Many animal facilities these days do not hire people with visible tattoos.

  21. Tell me about the students in the EATM program.
    The students in the program come from very diverse backgrounds. The age range is approximately 18 - 50.  The average age is about 22. We have people right out of high school enter the program (they were able to complete the prerequisites at a college while still attending high school - afternoons or nights), and also people over 60 years old go through the program. Approximately 25% or more of the students have Bachelor Degrees (or higher). EVERYONE (no matter your age or background) must have the 5 prerequisite college courses complete and on a college transcript at the time you apply.
    Moorpark College and the EATM program does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, physical disabilities, or any other factors. As long as you can do the work (both physically and academically), all students are encouraged to apply.
    In the past, we have found that sometimes students right out of high school have a tough time with many of our science-related courses. You should have a very strong science background, as well as very good English writing skills, otherwise you may not succeed in the EATM program academically.

    If you have ANY type of learning disability, be sure you seek help from our Disabled Students Services.  The EATM coursework is very challenging academically - you should be well prepared to undertake the challenges required.
  22. What are the differences between the EATM courses, and the Animal Science (ANSC) courses?
    Several of the EATM classes can now be taken as Animal Science (ANSC) classes here at Moorpark College.  These ANSC classes are open to ALL students here at Moorpark College.  Currently we offer an Animal Diversity (ANSC M17) class in the Fall, and an Animal Behavior class (ANSC M09) in the Spring.  Several years ago, the EATM program split some of their courses off into a different area - the Animal Science (ANSC) area. And then, due to budget cuts and enrollment limits, all previous ANSC courses were moved back into the EATM discipline.  But the ANSC classes are slowly coming back for all students.  Anyone can take the ANSC classes,
    The EATM courses are only available to students who have applied and been admitted specifically to the EATM major.
    In the near future, we hope to develop an Animal Science major with a Degree as well. This new major would be available to anyone, with no special application process necessary - but this is still years away.
  23. I am from a foreign country - an International Student - how do I apply?
    One of the first steps is to get in contact with our International Student Office here at Moorpark College. The International Student Specialist here at Moorpark will send you a Moorpark College International Student application package. This package will tell you the required process you must follow to become a student here in this country, such as obtaining a Visa, and other steps. You may need to take the TOEFL Test, and will have to provide documentation to the College of certain funds available for your education.

    You can contact the office at:
    International Student Office, attn: Cassandra Cowen
    Moorpark College
    7075 Campus Road, Rm FH-118-E
    Moorpark, CA 93021-1695
    e-mail ---
    phone (805) 378-1414
    fax  (805) 378-1567
    or click on the web site - International Student Info at Moorpark College

    You should contact the International Student Office a minimum of 9-12 months before you plan to attend Moorpark College. It takes time to process the visa and other governmental paperwork.

    Attention International Students .... The cost to attend college here may be higher than you may think. The tuition will be about $9,000+ per year, plus you need to figure on housing, living, transportation and eating expenses.  Financial aid IS NOT available for non-US citizens, so you you better look into aid from your home country.

    Since the educational system may be very different in your home country, it may be difficult to get the 5 required prerequisite classes done in your country.... but they must be taken before applying to the EATM Program.  If that is the case, then we recommend you come to the United States to take the 5 required prerequisite classes here, in this country.  You can attend any accredited college in the United States - you do not need to come to Moorpark College to take the 5 classes.  If you do attend Moorpark College, we can assist you with taking other classes, including some of the ANSC - Animal Science - classes here, and learning even more about the EATM Program.

    If you have records/transcripts or a Degree from a country OUTSIDE the United States, you will need to have those evaluated by one of the evaluation services approved by Moorpark College - BEFORE we can determine if they are acceptable - to meet prerequisites or other General Education requirements, toward a Degree here.   Contact the EATM Counselor for more info  ---

  24. I want to come to Moorpark, but I live far away and will need to relocate. How easy is it to find a place to live?
    kalebi the camelMoorpark College does not have any dormitories or other type of on-campus or off-campus housing. The students are responsible for setting up their own living arrangements, and finding their own accommodations. We do provide admitted students with a list of their fellow classmates, and also a listing of realtors in the area. As a student, you want to live as close to the campus as possible, since you will need to be here most mornings very early (6 am). There are apartments, condos, and houses to rent in the town of Moorpark (where the College is located) and also in the nearby cities of Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks (5 - 10 minutes away). It typically costs about $500+ per month for your own room in a shared house or apartment, in the area.
    You will really want to have a car. Since you will be required to be at America's Teaching Zoo many early mornings and late evenings, a car is almost essential. Also, you will be doing internships at the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Zoos. Students must provide their own transportation for these and other internships.
  25. Do I need the SAT or ACT tests to apply?
    No. Moorpark College is a public Community College, and no standardized tests are necessary for admission to any California Community College. The College will admit anyone who is 18 years of age or older, or who has graduated from High School. So anyone who meets these criteria can attend Moorpark College. You can get an application for Moorpark College online at this link.
    Moorpark College Application
    IMPORTANT NOTICE: the EATM program has separate admission requirements - different than the application to Moorpark College. In addition to the criteria above, to be eligible for the EATM program, the student must submit a separate EATM application, and must show completion of the required prerequisites, to be considered for admission to the EATM program. See the link to the right or below, for more EATM admission information.
    EATM Admission Information
  26. I have a learning or other type of disability - can I still be in the EATM program?
    Yes. Usually several students in each class at the EATM program have some type of verified disability. Moorpark College has an excellent program for students with disabilities - the ACCESS services. You can call them at (805) 378-1461. The EATM program is very demanding; physically, mentally, and especially academically.  Students must be able to handle the rigors of the program. Verification of this ability may be required by a physician, and the Moorpark College Health Center.
    Students with disabilities, whether physical, learning, or psychological, who believe that they may need accommodations in this class, are encouraged to contact ACCESS as soon as possible to arrange for these accommodations. Authorization, based on verification of disability, is required in the form of a "Confidential Memo" before any disability accommodation will be made in this class. The phone number for ACCESS is (805) 378-1461 and their office is located in the LMC building just to the West of the Campus Center. Drop-in hours are available.
    If you do have any type of Learning or other disability, contact the ACCESS Office immediately.  it is your responsibility to seek out their services.  The EATM Program will make every reasonable accommodation, but you must go thru ACCESS first.  Safety is our primary concern.  If the ACCESS service or the Health Center determine that your disability may put you or others at risk, then the EATM Program may not be right for you.
  27. Can I visit America's Teaching Zoo and the EATM Program?
    YES. America's Teaching Zoo is open to the public on weekends only. Every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. We have Wildlife Education Shows at 12noon and 2 p.m. The students are in classes during the week, so the zoo is closed to the public on week days.
    If you are interested in applying to the EATM Program as a student, we encourage you to visit on a weekend.  You will be able to see the current students in action, talk to them, talk to the staff on duty, and get a good idea of what you would be doing if you choose to apply to the EATM Program.  The students and staff members at the zoo should be able to answer all your questions, and if you have additional questions after your visit, send us an email....!!

    Weekend admission is $9 for adults, $7 for children and seniors.

    The zoo is also available for special events. We do special birthday shows, shows for school and other groups during the week, and outreach shows, where we load animals in the van and come to your location! Call our zoo at (805) 378-1441 for info about scheduling a special group event.

    Directions to America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College
  28. What are some helpful hints if I want to work with animals?
    Do some research and explore the type of position you want. Some positions may need specialized training in certain areas. For example, if you want to work at Sea World, they will need you to pass a swim test, and be SCUBA certified. Anyone who wants to work with marine mammals, should plan on getting SCUBA certified. Most marine mammal facilities will not hire you unless you show them a SCUBA certification card (and be a decent swimmer).... Advanced SCUBA certification is preferred. 
    This is a good example of something you need to explore and think about......

    Smoking - if you do smoke, you are strongly encouraged to quit. The EATM Program and Moorpark College strongly discourage smoking.  Plus, many animal facilities will not hire you if you smoke.

    Also, quite a few animal companies will not hire you if you have visible tattoos.... we STRONGLY recommend you do not get any LARGE, VISIBLE tattoos.  If you must get a tattoo - be discrete...make sure it will be covered by clothing, or by a swimsuit if you plan to work with marine mammals. 

    The EATM Program may implement a  "NO VISIBLE TATTOO"  policy in the near future.
  29. How should I prepare for admission into the EATM Program? 
    How difficult is the EATM program?

    If you are a high school student, you want to have a very strong background in the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, etc), as well as strong skills in Math and English. We recommend you take as much Science, Math, and English as possible while still in high school.
    If you are out of high school, and are attending College, first of all, make sure you finish the 5 prerequisite classes. We accept students from all over the United States and abroad, who major in many different subjects. If you are seriously interested in Animal Training, the most popular college majors are Psychology, Zoology and Biology, although we have students in the program with a wide variety of majors such as: Art, Business, Dance - and many others.

    DIFFICULTY - College success is predicated in part on high school success.
    Perhaps the most important information we can tell any prospective applicant to the EATM Program is - If you don't do well in High School, you probably won't do well in College (or on the job). You must develop the skills, motivation, critical reasoning, and many other abilities to be successful in any endeavor. A high school degree is not sufficient to guarantee a good job in today's competitive economy, and the lack of a diploma practically guarantees a future of diminished job prospects.  The EATM program is a difficult program.  Many of the classes you take here as part of this program are pretty intense... you really want to have a strong academic background - especially in the sciences, english and math.  Some of the Veterinary-type classes here in your second year of the program are what you might learn to do in Vet school..!!  And the first-year Animal Anatomy, Animal Behavior and Animal Diversity classes can be very challenging - be prepared..!!!

    Some of the books we use in this program are;

    "Don't Shoot the Dog"  by Karen Pryor
    "Animal Training: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement"  by Ken Ramirez
    "Wild Mammals in Captivity"  by D. G. Kleiman, et al

    You should be able to find these books at many larger bookstores, or online - if you want to start reading up on your own.
  30. Preparation - suggested College classes to take....
    For those students who are interested in the EATM Program, we recommend you work toward getting a college degree - either an Associate Degree (2-year degree) or a Bachelor Degree (4-year degree).  Having some sort of college degree will be to your advantage, when you finish the EATM Program.  We recommend you have a strong background in the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, etc.), Math and English. 

    Contact the EATM Counselor - Chuck Brinkman - if you have any questions about this.
    Also, be sure to review the EATM Program information in the College catalog - pages 161-166
  31. Health Info - From the Moorpark College Health Center...
    Since the EATM Program is very physically (and mentally) demanding, potential students should be healthy, physically fit and able to undertake the challenges of the program. Below is some info from the Health Center - concerning vaccinations and immunizations that are required and recommended for the EATM Program.
    Documented proof of the following immunizations required for entry into EATM:
    (These vaccinations and a physical are typically performed when the new students arrive in August.)
    TD vaccination - tetanus/diphtheria done within the last 10 years
    2 MMR vaccinations - measles, mumps, rubella vaccine
    TB skin test - to be done during the summer before admission
    Hepatitis B vaccination (3 doses) - highly recommended, not required
    Hepatitis A vaccination (2 doses) - highly recommended, not required
    We do not require the Rabies vaccination for students.

    Since students will be working with some potentially dangerous animals while in the EATM Program, here is information about Health Insurance, which is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all students while in the EATM Program.
    Optional health insurance is available on our website for currently enrolled students.  Please check the following link:

    If a student were to be injured on campus or at a college sponsored event, he would be covered through the college student accident insurance.
    A student's private insurance is the primary insurance carrier for a college related accident, with the college insurance as secondary.
    When a student is uninsured our college insurance becomes primary for college related accidents.
    As for health services - all students are entitled to any service provided by the Moorpark College Health Center, as long as they are currently enrolled.
    The Health Center here at Moorpark College is staffed with; Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, a Physician, Psychologists and Psychology interns, Health Intervention Specialists and Nutrition interns.

     Sharon Manakas,  Coordinator Student Health Services   ---   805.378.1413

  32. Will my Certificate and/or Degree in Exotic Animal Training be all that I need?
    These days, it will really help if you have the most education possible. While students coming out of the EATM Program with a Certificate and Associate of Science Degree (2 year college degrees) are able to find jobs, it would really be advantageous to have a higher degree. A Bachelor degree (4-year college degree) is fast becoming required for many jobs or positions....especially with City or State agencies. If you want to move up into higher levels of management or greater areas of responsibility within the animal industry, we strongly encourage students to set their sights on attaining a Bachelor degree.  EATM and the Animal Science Program at Moorpark College is developing a transfer pathway, for students who desire to go on for their Bachelor degree, after the EATM program.
    Students who enter the EATM program already having Bachelor degrees, may have an advantage afterwards, when prospective employers are hiring.

    Here is a recent news article - concerning the earning potential of college graduates....

    "College Degree Worth an Extra $23,000/year"
    "How much is a bachelor's degree worth? About $23,000 a year, according to data from the Census Bureau. That is the average gap in earnings between adults with bachelor's degrees and those with high school diplomas. College graduates made an average of $51,554 in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school diploma. High school dropouts earned an average of $19,169 and those with advanced college degrees made an average of $78,093. But the differences remained significant for men and women of every racial and ethnic group. Eighty-five percent of people 25 and older had at least a high school diploma or the equivalent in 2005, according to the Census Bureau's 2005 Current Population Survey. In 2000, 80% had a high school diploma or the equivalent, and a little more than half did in 1970. Twenty-eight percent had at least a bachelor's degree, compared with about 24% in 2000 and 11% in 1970."
  33. What is the Typical week like for students in the EATM Program at America's Teaching Zoo?
    Monday thru Friday
    You arrive at the zoo at 6:30am, at least 3 days a week - to clean the zoo.
         (The other 2 days a week - you will usually need to be at the zoo by 8 or 9am.)
    Zoo cleaning   6:30-8:30am
    Animals are fed from 8-10am
    Academic classes from about 9-12noon
    More classes from about 1-3pm
    Animals are fed again from about 3-4pm
    Zoo checked/ready for the night  4-5pm
    You may have a possible night class (1 or 2  nights a week) from 6-9pm.
    There might also be a school group, where the current EATM students must do shows & tours, one day or more a week.

    Saturday and Sunday
    The Zoo is open to the public on weekends, so students are there doing many things to keep the zoo running smoothly.  Your hours might be from 8am to 5pm.
    You will be at the Zoo at least one day every weekend (You may need to come in on both weekend days, although you may not need to be there ALL day).
    Students clean and feed
    Students do animal shows for the public
    Students monitor the zoo and interact with the public
    Zoo hours open to the public on weekends are 11am to 5pm.   (Student hours are from 8am to 5pm)
    Students usually able to leave by 5pm..... and start all over again tomorrow...!!!
  34. Do you take Volunteers at America's Teaching Zoo...???     Do you have any sort of Internship Program at America's Teaching Zoo..?
    No, we do not take Volunteers or interns. Unfortunately we do not have the resources (staff) to supervise Volunteers. The students enrolled in the program do most of the work to keep the zoo running. There are many places a person can volunteer to get animal experience. Try your local Veterinary office, Animal Shelter or any Animal Rescue facility might be another good place to try.
  35. It all sounds really cool to me! How do I apply?
    Read the material carefully on the Information Page. Apply to the EATM program.
    Pay careful attention to the 5 prerequisite courses needed, and the application deadlines.
    (EATM applications are only accepted from January 1 through January 31)
    In order to apply for Fall 2018, you must have all 5 college prerequisite classes complete and on your college transcript (with grades) by January 31, 2018.
  36. How do I get a Moorpark College course catalog?
    The College catalog is available to view on the internet at:
    We no longer have printed versions of the College Catalog or our Class Schedules.
    The Class Schedule for each semester can be viewed at: