The National Aquarium is currently seeking applicants to the Helen Swearer Fellowship in Aquarium Science and Veterinary Medicine – a comprehensive training program in aquarium zoological medicine. The Fellow will learn about all aspects of veterinary management of animals at an accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facility. The Fellow helps provide high-level veterinary care to the collection, conduct clinically relevant research, maintain or exceed AZA-level standards in professional animal care, and train veterinary students. The National Aquarium animal collection has over 16,000 animals (approximately 700 species of invertebrates, fishes, reptiles, birds, and mammals - including bottlenose dolphins).

Major responsibilities include primary medical care of collection animals (e.g., implementing preventative medicine program, performing clinical exams and emergency response, reviewing water quality and life support system function), case management leadership for National Aquarium Animal Rescue animals (primarily sea turtles and seals), a research project for publication, and veterinary student training.

Duties include but are not limited to

  • maintaining exceptional communication with team members;
  • performing physical exams, surgeries, and diagnostic testing;
  • performing necropsies and ancillary testing;
  • interpreting diagnostic tests;
  • developing management and treatment plans;
  • maintaining accurate and timely medical records;
  • participating in on-call coverage;
  • ensuring appropriate pre-shipment testing for animal acquisitions and dispositions;
  • implementing appropriate animal quarantine;
  • prescribing treatments;
  • implementing and improving standard operating protocols;
  • monitoring disease trends;
  • participating in professional organizations;
  • and providing training to staff and veterinary students.

As part of the Fellowship Program, this individual will be responsible for one research project, including a publication. Funding is available for conference travel and some research.

This training program is established as a two-year program, contingent on successful completion of the first year.

Required to apply:

  • A veterinary degree (DVM, VMD, or overseas equivalent) from an AVMA-accredited veterinary school;
  • a current Maryland veterinary license (or ability to obtain one within 3 months of start date);
  • have completed an internship or residency in aquatic/zoo/exotic animal medicine or have equivalent experience;
  • hold accreditation from USDA to issue health certifications (or ability to obtain within 3 months of start date);
  • have a Maryland driver’s license (or ability to obtain within 1 month of start date).

Qualified candidates must provide a cover letter, curriculum vitae including names of 3 references, and official veterinary school transcript.

If you are passionate about providing excellent service and have an interest in joining a team in an innovative, conservation organization, please apply for this outstanding opportunity!

The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience, and ideas to apply.


Recently named one of Baltimore’s Best Places to Work, the National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a nonprofit aquatic education and conservation organization, the jewel of the city’s Inner Harbor redevelopment. SmartCEO Magazine honored the National Aquarium with the Healthiest Workplace award and the Corporate Culture award in 2016. With a mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the Aquarium is consistently ranked one of the nation’s two top aquariums and has hosted over 51 million guests since opening.

Today, the National Aquarium builds on a 36-year history of local, regional and global conservation initiatives that provide real solutions for protecting marine life, ecosystems and aquatic communities. Its Animal Rescue team has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its Animal Welfare and Science teams participate in important research efforts to confront pressing ocean conservation issues and advocate for smarter policies at local, state and federal levels. Through education, research, conservation action, and advocacy, the National Aquarium is pursuing a vision to change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.

HOW TO APPLY Interested and engaged applicants should apply through our website Requests for reasonable accommodation can be made by e-mailing