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Supervisor, Cetaceans

Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, United States Posted: March 12 2023

The Cetacean Supervisor, Oceanarium supports the Cetacean manager in the day-to-day management of the Oceanarium department with a focus on the Cetacean area of operation. This position works closely with the other cetacean supervisors and the manager to ensure effective daily operations of the team and care for the animals. As needed, they work with the Director, Oceanarium - along with numerous other departments including Animal Care, Animal Health, Environmental Quality, Facilities, and Aquarium - to help ensure smooth and effective operations involving the animas under their care. This position works cooperatively with the animal care management teams to ensure compliance with all accreditation and regulatory requirements for departmental operations and provides full support of the aquarium’s SCUBA diving program as directed by the Dive Program Manager.

The Supervisor must work collaboratively with the other supervisors in their shared area of focus to help staff achieve goals set out by the manager that support Shedd’s institutional priorities. The supervisor spends most of their time working with the animals and the staff, helping to provide consistent guidance, accountability, and support. They can assess employee’s strengths and support those areas needing growth.

The Supervisor serves in a leadership position in the Animals division and works to implement strategies to meet institutional objectives and initiatives requiring support of the Oceanarium department. Serves as an aquarium spokesperson as needed.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd's vision, mission, and values.
  • Direct staff to achieve goals and objectives for short- and long-term operations.
  • Work effectively with Oceanarium management in achieving the goals and objectives of the combined Oceanarium sections with a focus on their area of responsibility.
  • Responsible for all the animal care duties of a Senior Trainer.
  • Work effectively with other departments contributing to the welfare, training and exhibition of the living collection.
  • Help to support research and development strategies resulting in new training, enrichment, and behavior concepts of the living collection.
  • Ensures effective and efficient execution of established policies and procedures and processes.
  • Implements goals and directives of manager and leadership team.
  • Assist with ordering supplies.
  • Work with other departments throughout the organization to meet organizational goals and objectives
  • Liaise with professional colleagues as a representative of the aquarium.
  • Assess employees’ strengths and monitors performance to stated expectations.
  • Provide consistent support and guidance to assist staff in meeting expectations.
  • Other projects and duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree in biology or related discipline or extensive hands-on experience working with a live animal collection at a zoo, aquarium, or similar institution.
Experience and Characteristics
  • Practical working knowledge with at least three years’ experience in the behavior management of a living collection.
  • An advanced knowledge of maintaining the species under their supervision.
  • Knowledge of behavior shaping processes.
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • Ability to give and follow directions effectively.
  • Able to help employees define and follow through with actions that support excellent performance and personal development.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Good organizational and electronic record keeping skills.
  • Proficient computer skills
  • Ability to maintain professional relationships with co-workers across departments.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively independently and in a team setting
  • Excellent communication skills are essential with public relations experience a plus.
  • Ability to work effectively in dynamic and changing work environment.
  • Working knowledge of the use of SCUBA to maintain aquatic animals and habitats.
  • Efficient use of SCUBA for exhibit maintenance and/or open water diving
  • This position may call for special scheduling and overtime as needed, sometimes without much advance notice. Must be able to work weekends, evenings, early morning and holidays as needed.
  • Must possess a valid driver's license and passport.
  • Must possess current SCUBA certification from a professionally recognized SCUBA certifying agency.
Other Requirements
  • Must possess strong swimming skills.
  • Must be able to walk, bend, kneel, and climb stairs and ladders while in dive gear.
  • Constant adequate range of motion and mobility required.
  • Must have cognitive and communication skills required to function within the department.
  • Regular hearing and the ability to perceive the nature of sounds.
  • Must be able to read, write, and speak English.
  • Must be safety conscious.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills with supervisors, co-workers, and visitors in a variety of settings.
  • Must have good organizational and time management skills.
  • Employment contingent upon passing dive physical administered as directed by Shedd Aquarium's dive program.

We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).