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Freshwater Aquarist

South Carolina Aquarium
Charleston, United States Posted: May 29, 2024

An Exciting Career Opportunity is Available in a Place Where Others Come to Visit!

Located along the pristine harbor in the heart of historic Charleston, the South Carolina Aquarium has been inspiring visitors for over twenty years. From our over 5,000 animals to our award-winning education team, from the Sea Turtle Care Center™ to our conservation programs protecting local species, visitors are struck with awe and inspiration as they journey through all our exhibits, representing the mountains to the sea of South Carolina.

About the South Carolina Aquarium

We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums with a mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by exhibiting and caring for animals, by excelling in education and research and by providing an exceptional visitor experience. We invite you to join the #1 visitor attraction located in one of the Top Cities in the World (Conde Nast, 2023).

Inclusion, accessibility, diversity, equity, justice and belonging are core values of our institution, and we are committed to fostering a workplace filled with active participation from diverse voices throughout all departments and leadership roles. We look forward to applications from all who qualify, and we encourage BIPOC individuals, LGBTQIA+ individuals, veterans and those with disabilities to apply.

​​​​​Job Summary:
  • Primarily responsible for the acquisition, transport and care of aquatic specimens, exhibit maintenance including diving with scuba and surface supply, proper water quality and maintenance of life support system
Essential Functions:
  • Adheres to the South Carolina Aquarium Policies & Procedures.
  • Locates and acquires desired specimens primarily by collecting.
  • Maintains relationships with local and state agencies as it pertains to specimen acquisition and research projects.
  • Maintains proper water quality in all systems.
  • Evaluates animals' health and environment requirements.
  • Quarantines and administers medications to animals.
  • Develops and distributes a proper nutritional diet.
  • Maintains exhibit aesthetics, including tank and filter cleaning and periodic renovations.
  • Designs, constructs and maintains life support systems.
  • Provides periodic interaction with the Aquariums' visitors.
  • Keeps accurate records, orders supplies and maintains equipment.
  • Provides coverage for other Aquarium's Husbandry positions as required.
  • Must be flexible with work schedule, including working weekends, holidays and evenings.
  • Work unsupervised and make decisions consistent with the team philosophy.
  • Perform dive related tank maintenance on any aquarium system as required.
  • Ability to dive with and handle sharks, rays, venomous fish, eels and sea turtles.
  • Supervises Volunteers and Interns
Other Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Supports the mission by participating in Aquarium sponsored programs and events on a regular basis, such as daily education programs, membership programs, behind the scenes tours, and fundraising activities.
  • Assist in the continual development of exhibits and educational programs that align with aquarium goals.
  • Other responsibilities as assigned (including meeting attendance, committee service, public relations support, social media content development).
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Ability to recognize and prevent animal diseases.
  • Knowledge of saltwater fishes and elasmobranchs.
  • Ability to properly collect and handle specimens, including sharks and stingrays, using various methods from above and under water.
  • Good working knowledge of water quality parameters and their relation to animal health.
  • Understanding of the mechanical equipment necessary to maintain living exhibits, including sand filters, water pumps, protein skimmers, heat exchangers, ozone and UV filters.
  • Knowledge and demonstrated skill of minor plumbing, carpentry and electrical work.
  • Proficient in all MS Office Products including: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook.
  • Ability to pass dive physical, dive skill evaluation and swim test within 2 months of hire.
  • Experience with diving in an aquarium setting.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Boat handling and navigation skills a plus.
Licenses & Certifications Required:
  • SCUBA Certification with 50+ Open water dives
  • Valid Driver's License
Supervision of Others:
  • Volunteers and Interns
Physical Requirements:
  • Requires average walking,
  • standing,
  • bending,
  • stooping,
  • and crouching,
  • climbing ladders,
  • sitting,
  • kneeling,
  • balancing,
  • pushing and pulling,
  • crawling,
  • working with tools,
  • computer tasks and phone usage;
  • should be able to lift/carry at least 50 lbs.;
  • requires driving Aquarium vehicles.
Hazardous Requirements:
  • Average exposure to minor or severe cuts;
  • falls;
  • falling objects;
  • hazards to eyesight,
  • hearing and sense of smell;
  • and tight spaces.
  • Often requires use of personal protective equipment due to exposure to chemicals,
  • hazardous materials,
  • ozone,
  • and handling of animals.
Working Conditions:
  • This position requires works in both an office environment and outdoors, sometimes in extreme weather including both hot and cold; requires weekend and late-night work as needed;
  • requires contact with customers,
  • the general public, and outside vendors;
  • requires carrying a cell phone and radio; requires occasional travel.
  • The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by people assigned to this classification.
  • They are not construed to be an exhaustive list of all job duties performed by the personnel classified.
Experience Required
  • Education and Experience Required:
  • BS in biology, aquatic biology or a closely related field.
  • Minimum of 3 years' experience in exhibiting aquatic animals at an AZA-accredited facility or acceptable equivalent.
  • Full-Time Benefits,
  • Generous PTO,
  • Reciprocity Pass Program,
  • Amazing Culture!

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