Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2019
Volunteer Information and Interview Sessions
Seasonal Volunteer Guide
Join the Aquarium Guide program and share the Monterey Bay Aquarium's mission to inspire conservation of the ocean. As a Seasonal Volunteer Guide, you'll explore and share the ocean and Aquarium exhibits with our guests.
Seasonal Volunteer Guides stand at various exhibits throughout the Aquarium on a four-hour shift per week or five-hour shift every other weekend. Guides handle live animals and plants in cold water touch pools and should be able to communicate effectively in large and small groups. Guides interact with multicultural and multilingual guests in a respectful and engaging manner. Volunteers must be age 18 and older. If you're under age 18, please check out our Teen Programs.
Length of Time Commitment
Six months of regular volunteering (once per week on weekdays or every other weekend) is required. We encourage new volunteers joining our program to commit to one year or more of volunteering to experience all the Aquarium Guide program has to offer. Initially, new volunteers joining the program will focus on learning key exhibits and then add to their knowledge banks by completing additional training.
Recruitment for the Aquarium Guide program is now open. Please note there is an application, interview and training process. After submitting an application, we ask all applicants to attend an information and interview session on Wednesday, August 21 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. or Saturday, August 31 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. inside the Aquarium Auditorium. Please enter through the Main Entrance. We also ask that applicants selected for the program attend three evenings of mandatory onsite training on September 15, 17 and 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. Following training, volunteers are scheduled to immediately begin serving on shifts and are required to complete three additional training sessions during their shifts.
If you're interested in becoming a Seasonal Volunteer Guide, please complete our Volunteer Guide Program Application.Apply now
As an aviculture volunteer, you'll assist with the care of the live bird collection and exhibits starting in the Aviary with our shorebird collection. Duties include food preparation (live food items such as worms and crickets) and distribution, scrubbing and cleaning of exhibits, food prep areas and service areas, and bird observations and record-keeping.
Aviculture volunteers assist once a week for a four-hour period from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Volunteers handle live food items and conduct physical duties involved with exhibit care, which may involve lifting, carrying, and going up and down stairs. Volunteers need to be able to perform the physical tasks of the role and able to comfortably handle live food items. Volunteers must be age 18 and older and be able to meet the 80 percent attendance requirement.
Length of Time Commitment
Due to the level of training involved, we ask all aviculture volunteers to commit to a minimum of one year. We stress the importance of the time commitment for this program. Applicants must be located a reasonable commuting distance from the Aquarium. There is an application and interview process for this position.
Online applications are accepted once a year into a candidate pool that is used to fill openings on an as-needed basis. As positions open, we review applications for day of availability and animal group of interest and then begin a recruitment process beginning with interviews. Please note that applying online does not guarantee a position. Applicants must re-apply each year to be included in the candidate pool for the current year.
Food Room Volunteer
The food room is the heart and hub of animal care at the Aquarium. It is a highly active work space with a variety of departments utilizing its services and products. Volunteers in the food room assist the Aquarium's food room technicians with the preparation of daily animal menus and food items. Volunteers also assist in the general upkeep of the food room according to regulations set forth by the USDA and other regulatory agencies.
Ability to prepare food items including chopping, weighing, and processing fresh and frozen fish and shellfish. Daily cleaning of the animal food room sinks, refrigerators, floors and dishes. Ability to stand for long periods (one four-hour shift with a break) while preparing food and operating food prep equipment such as knives, blenders, scales, etc. Some lifting required (~40lbs). Ability to assist with food pulls from the walk-in freezer. The weekly shift is from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Length of Time Commitment
One four-hour shift per week with a one-year commitment.
The application process is opened on an as-needed basis. Applicants must be located a reasonable commuting distance from the Aquarium. Applications will be reviewed and those that are strong matches for the position will be selected for interviews. There is an application and interview process prior to selection. There are on-boarding and training requirements following selection.
Gallery volunteers assist with the care and feeding of the Aquarium's live invertebrate and fish collection and living exhibit maintenance. The animal care team operates within high standards of animal care and exhibit maintenance. Volunteers are assigned to a specific gallery and assist the aquarists in that area to clean exhibits and holding tanks, prepare and feed animals, and conduct duties related to maintenance of the life support systems.
The gallery volunteer shift is one day a week from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is a physically demanding role. In order to access and clean exhibits, you be required to climb up and down ladders, use step stools, and work at odd angles and in challenging positions. Duties may also include carrying and manipulating buckets filled with seawater and animal food products. The work environment may include wet floors, low overhead work spaces and dark service areas. Ability to meet the time commitment and 80 percent attendance are required.
Length of Time Commitment
The commitment is for one four-hour shift every week for one year.
Applications are accepted on an as-needed basis throughout the year. Applicants are placed in a candidate pool based on their days of availability. When a position opens, strong candidates will be selected for interviews. Please note, applying does not guarantee a position within that year. There is an application and interview process prior to selection. There are on-boarding and training requirements following selection.
To apply for any of the above listed Animal Care openings, please fill out the Animal Care Volunteer Application and indicate which opportunity you are interested in.Apply now
The volunteer dive teams' primary responsibility is to help maintain the Aquarium's exhibits including Monterey Bay Habitats, Kelp Forest and Sea Otters. These dives consist mainly of animal evaluation, window cleaning, bottom-siphoning and feeding.
Volunteer Divers are assigned to at least one recurring maintenance shift every other week. The maintenance shifts occur on Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 8 to 10:30 a.m., and Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Due to the popularity of this program, we have an exceptionally large applicant pool. Generally, we review the applications with location, availability and diving experience as the leading indicators. We also require all of our divers to be trained through Advanced and Rescue Diver, have current CPR/O2/FA/AED certifications, as well as have a minimum of 20 cold-water dives before entering the program.
Volunteer diving at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) is under the guidelines of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). These governing bodies set standards for Scientific and Occupational Diving in the United States and California, respectively. Applicants must meet the following certification requirements in order to apply for Volunteer Diver certification at MBA:
Current Certifications: CPR, FA, AED and O2 provider certifications. Photocopies of your current certification cards or equivalent must be provided.
Diving Physical Examination: Applicants must pass an occupational diving physical. This is an extensive physical that goes beyond a routine physical; proper physical conditioning is required. This physical is paid for by the Aquarium (excluding any additional testing deemed necessary by our Diving Physician).
Minimum Age: Applicants must be age 18 and older to apply for MBA diving certification.
Minimum Dive Experience: Applicants must be Open Water, Advanced and Rescue certified from a nationally recognized scuba agency (or equivalent) and produce dive logs that document experience of at least 20 dives in Monterey Bay or similar cold-water environments within the last five years.
Equipment Requirements and Inspection: Each applicant must provide his/her own mask, snorkel, dive weights and thermal protection. The Dive Office will inspect all equipment to ensure it meets MBA standards before use in any Aquarium diving activities. All other equipment will be provided by the Aquarium.
Swimming Evaluation: Applicants must successfully perform in swimming tests in the presence of the Dive Safety Officer (DSO), or an examiner approved by the DSO.
Scuba Evaluation: All applicants will be evaluated in the presence and to the satisfaction of the DSO, or an examiner approved by the DSO prior to becoming a Volunteer Diver. All skills shall be performed in scuba diving gear appropriate to the conditions found in Monterey Bay.
Knowledge Development: Applicants must complete assigned training modules in a timely manner. Knowledge reviews will cover topics including, but not limited to, diving safety and planning, equipment, physics and physiology, emergency rescue procedures and MBA diving standards and procedures. Minimum passing score for all assessments is 80 percent.
Length of Time Commitment
We ask all Volunteer Divers to commit to a minimum of one year. Due to the extensive time commitment for this program, which is difficult to maintain if you don't live in the area, we ask that Volunteer Divers live within 45 minutes of the Aquarium. A dive team performs duties every other week with each diver committing to a minimum of 24 dives annually.
We're no longer accepting Volunteer Diver applications at this time.