The Aquarium would not be able to operate without the help of its volunteers. Volunteering has great rewards, but it's also a big committment. Find out if volunteering at the New England Aquarium is right for you. Below are answers to several frequently asked questions.

 

Is there a time commitment for volunteering?
Are there volunteering opportunities that are shorter than six months?
I only want to volunteer for the summer, what positions are available?
Do volunteer positions have age restrictions?
Are there volunteer opportunities for teens and high school students?
Can I do my senior project at the New England Aquarium?
Do you have volunteer opportunities on the weekends?
Do you have opportunities for group volunteering?
When is the best time to apply?
What is your selection process for volunteers and how competitive is it?
What is the difference between volunteering and interning?
I am currently job searching and have a lot of free time – can I volunteer?
Is there a waitlist that I can join?
Will you notify me if there’s an opening?
Do you keep my application on file?
Can I dive in the Giant Ocean Tank as a volunteer?
Can volunteering lead to job opportunities?
I want to volunteer in your Animal Care Center in Quincy, MA. Do I need to have access to a car?
I am a former volunteer; how do I get involved again?

Is there a time commitment for volunteering?

We ask our volunteers to commit to one full day a week for a minimum of six months. For most positions, a “full day” is roughly 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m.

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Are there volunteering opportunities that are shorter than six months?

We do occasionally have “one-shot” opportunities that do not require a long-term commitment. These opportunities usually involve customer service or administrative duties and are not directly animal related. To be placed on the one-shot email list or to find out more information about these opportunities, please email vols@neaq.org.

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I only want to volunteer for the summer, what positions are available?

Unfortunately, the minimum commitment for volunteers is six months. If you are a teen, you may be eligible for some of the opportunities listed here. If you are a college-level student, you may want to consider applying to one of our internships.

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Do volunteer positions have age restrictions?

For most positions, you must be 18 years old or older due to liabilities involved. If you are 16 years old or older, you may apply for Visitor Education volunteer, Visitor Services volunteer or to be a Construction Ambassador. If you are younger than 16 years old, we currently do not have any volunteer opportunities, but we do have a wide variety of educational programs. You can find out more information about those programs here.

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Are there volunteer opportunities for teens and high school students?

Yes! There are different opportunities depending on your age, the time of year and where you live. Those opportunities are listed here. You can also find out more by emailing our Teen Office at teens@neaq.org.

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Can I do my senior project at the New England Aquarium?

Generally, we are unable to accommodate senior projects because many schools require more hours than we can provide. If a regular volunteer commitment (one day a week for six months) would fulfill the requirements of your senior project, then please fill out our volunteer application form and tell us in as much detail as possible about your project request and needs. Please be aware that we would have to consider you among the pool of applicants we have at that time.

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Do you have volunteer opportunities on the weekends?

Yes, we have volunteer opportunities every day of the week, however, weekend positions are the most sought-after positions. To check the availability of a position, please look at the position description page.

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Do you have opportunities for group volunteering?

Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity for group volunteering due to limited staff time and physical space. Unlike zoos or other cultural institutions, we lack wide open spaces to accommodate groups. Small groups could consider our “one-shot” opportunities, but we cannot guarantee placement.

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When is the best time to apply?

The only volunteer position with an application deadline is the Visitor Education volunteer position. We accept new Visitor Education volunteers three times a year in advance of our Aquarium Guide Training (AGT) course. AGT is a mandatory class for accepted Visitor Education volunteers that runs in the winter, spring and fall. More information about Visitor Education volunteering can be found here.

All of our other volunteer positions have a rolling deadline. We receive a steady stream of applications no matter what time of the year. If you are interested in volunteering with us, there’s no time like the present!

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What is your selection process for volunteers and how competitive is it?

After we receive an application, we will review it and possibly invite the candidate for an interview if he or she may meet our current needs. If the candidate may be a good fit for a vacancy in their desired department, we will pass on their application for a second interview with a volunteer supervisor.

The process is extremely competitive due to high demand for positions and a low turnover rate. We receive about 80 to 100 applications per month and can only accept roughly 15 percent.

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What is the difference between volunteering and interning?

Our interns have a separate application process, and we expect that they come to us with a background relating to the positions for which they have applied. Interns generally work two to four days a week for a minimum of 12 weeks, and usually have more in-depth or demanding responsibilities because of their more relevant background.

Our volunteer applicants do not need to have a relevant background to volunteer, and we are mostly looking for interest, passion and curiosity! Volunteers commit one day a week for a minimum of six months. Although their duties may sometimes be less complex than an intern’s responsibilities, we rely heavily on our volunteers. Without them, the Aquarium would not run!

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I am currently job searching and have a lot of free time – can I volunteer?

We would prefer to consider applicants once their schedule is set. The best way to get involved as a job-seeker is to be on our contact list for short-term volunteer opportunities. More information on those can be found here.

Is there a waitlist that I can join?

Yes! We do keep a waitlist for the different areas of the Aquarium. If you have applied for areas in which we do not have openings, we may ask if you would like to be on the waitlist. However, we cannot guarantee placement for all the volunteers on our waitlist. It is also very difficult to estimate wait times, as we can only fill vacancies as they occur.

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Will you notify me if there’s an opening?

Yes, we try our best to utilize our waitlist whenever we have an opening. If you have been placed on a waitlist and your availability changes from what you had originally listed, please get in touch and let us know.

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Do you keep my application on file?

Yes, we keep your application on file for three months. After that time, you are welcome to reapply.

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Can I dive in the Giant Ocean Tank as a volunteer?

It takes roughly two years to become a Giant Ocean Tank Diver volunteer. The first step is to become an Assistant Dive Volunteer, which is a dry (no diving) position. After six months, Assistant Dive volunteers are eligible to become Diver volunteers. The decision comes from the supervisors of the Giant Ocean Tank and is dependent upon volunteer performance, Dive Team vacancies, number of open water dives logged and results of written and practical tests from our Diving Safety Officer.

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Can volunteering lead to job opportunities?

Many of our current employees started as volunteers, but because staff really enjoy their jobs, there aren’t always positions available. We consider volunteering to be an excellent professional development opportunity; however, volunteering or interning with us does not lead directly to paid work.

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I want to volunteer in your Animal Care Center in Quincy, MA. Do I need to have access to a car?

Yes, unfortunately public transportation is not a reliable enough way to get to the facility and access to a car is a requirement for any of our Quincy-related positions.

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I am a former volunteer; how do I get involved again?

Email us at vols@neaq.org! We would love to hear from you and talk about ways to get involved. Depending on how long it has been since you were a volunteer, it is possible that we will ask you to fill out another application to update us on what you have been doing since you were last with us.

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Questions?