Aquarium Educator Volunteer Program

The purpose of our award-winning Aquarium Educator Volunteer Program is to educate guests about the animals on-site and inspire them to take action to conserve aquatic life. Our volunteers showcase props, tell conservation stories, and provide immersive educational experiences that instill a love of marine life.

We are committed to providing opportunities to volunteers of diverse backgrounds. Our galleries, and entrances, are wheelchair accessible, and designated accessible parking is available. If you have any questions about volunteer accommodations, please email

To be eligible to apply, all volunteers must make a commitment of a one shift per week for a minimum of three months and be a minimum of 15 years old in the calendar year applying.

Aquarium Educator Volunteer News

Please sign up here if you would like to be on the list to receive an email when the next recruitment process opens.


Veterinary Externships are a type of practicum designed specifically for third or fourth-year Veterinary Medicine students. We also host Veterinary Technologist Externships that are designed for final-year Animal Health Technologist and Veterinary Technology students. Applicants must be enrolled in their final year of study in a veterinary medicine or veterinary technician program from an accredited institution.

Veterinary Externship Applications are currently open for placements between April 1 and October 31, 2024. Apply by March 31, 2023 here

Veterinary Technologist applications are currently open for placements between February and September 2024. Apply by November 30, 2023 here.

For more information on practicum or externship placements, please email

Marine Mammal Rescue Centre Volunteer Program

Volunteers play an essential role in the successful rehabilitation of marine mammals at the rescue centre, an offsite-quarantine facility. Under the direct supervision of staff, volunteers prepare formula, thaw, and sort fish, clean and disinfect food prep areas, clean animal enclosures and pools and assist with the general maintenance around the site.

New volunteers will not handle or touch animals and must follow strict safety and quarantine protocols. These volunteers must also be able to lift a minimum of 12kg, stand for extended periods of time and work outdoors in all weather conditions. To be eligible to apply, all volunteers must make a minimum five-hour shift per week commitment from July to early September and be a minimum of 18 years old in the calendar year applying.

The rescue centre shifts are 7-11:45am, 12:15-4:45pm and 5:15-10pm seven days a week during peak season July and August.

Rescue Centre Volunteer Recruitment Sign Up

Rescue centre volunteer recruitment occurs ONCE annually in the spring, and is now CLOSED for summer 2024. Please sign up to be notified when recruitment for summer 2025 commences.

Please email if you have any questions.

Marine Mammal Rescue Practicums

Marine Mammal Rescue practicums are for students required by their post-secondary curriculum to gain practical experience in the field of animal husbandry or wildlife rehabilitation. The students will work alongside the veterinary staff and volunteer teams to aid in the rehabilitation of marine mammals admitted to the centre. Key duties include general husbandry, meal preparation, gavage feeding, helping admit animals, administering subcutaneous fluids, wound management, prepping medications, and potential to assist with rescues and releases. Placement options are ONLY offered from June to October

Practicum placements are unpaid, short-term placements undertaken as part of post-secondary studies through an accredited University or College. Students must be registered in a course that requires placement in animal husbandry or wildlife rehabilitation (APBI496at UBC for example) or a Veterinary Technology Program.

Students must be in good academic standing, be a minimum of 18 years old in year applying, familiar with animal handling and be able to work as a member of a team with minimal supervision. Additionally, practicum students must meet the physical aspects of the position including lifting and carrying 12 kg safely on their own and be comfortable working outdoors in all weather conditions. Priority will be given to Canadian applicants. 

Applications for summer 2024 are now closed.

Please see the FAQ section below if you have any questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

A practicum is part of a formal education process for students enrolled in a post-secondary institution that involves the supervised practical application of previously taught theory related to course study.  A practicum is unpaid hands-on training that is required by the curriculum of the program for credit towards graduating

Two practicums are currently offered through the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMR). The animal husbandry practicum and the veterinary technologist practicum. Both are only available June to October.  The duration of both practicums will differ depending on the course requirements.

The course/program must specify hands on training to receive credit and/or to graduate.  The practicum is NOT a placement for graduated students or anyone looking for experience in animal husbandry or wildlife rehabilitation that is not connected to a specific course or program.

Unfortunately, not.  The rescue centre is predominately busy from June -October due to the harbour seal pupping season.  Although the rescue centre is open year-round, there are not enough patients on site to offer the diversity of training opportunities for students.

The expectation is that the practicum students will prioritize their placement at MMR for the duration of their placement.  There is some flexibility with weekly scheduling however the required hours stipulated in your practicum course/program will still need to be met.

A practicum role is only for students currently enrolled in an eligible course/program. However, the rescue centre does offer a small number of specialized visiting volunteer positions for students in veterinary medicine, veterinary technology, marine biology, or other similar fields, and visiting rescue or animal care professionals. If you think you are eligible for this role, please email

Yes, if your program/course meets the eligibility and your dates align with June-October. You will be responsible for organizing your own travel, accommodation in Vancouver and entry requirements.

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