Aquarium Programs Associate

About the Organization  

Heal the Bay is the most recognized environmental nonprofit group in LA for a reason: we have been keeping Southern California’s coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean for people and marine life since 1985. Using education, science, advocacy, and community action, we raise awareness and make progress with practical solutions to often complex problems. We conduct hundreds of beach and community cleanups each year, informing people about the root causes of pollution along the shorelines and in their neighborhoods. We advocate for strict water quality regulations that protect the health of both humans and the animals that call local creeks, rivers, and the Santa Monica Bay home. We operate the award-winning Heal the Bay Aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier, inspiring visitors to become stewards for the region’s most important natural resource: clean water. We also educate and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards, with more than 10,000 students joining us each year for school field trips, science-based classroom presentations, and events.

About the Role  

Heal the Bay is looking for a part-time Aquarium Associate, Programs with an interest in all aspects that an aquarium has to offer, including: marine science working with aquatic animals; environmental education supporting our education team with field trip and camp programs; and outreach. But will primarily be focused on working with our Public Programs team in the execution of public hours, retail sales, gallery interpretation, and special events. In this position, you will gain valuable marine biology, teaching, public speaking, customer service, retail sales, and event coordination skills while building your resume and obtaining references.

This is an excellent opportunity to work in a dynamic and unique work environment on the Santa Monica Pier, in the Aquarium, and on the beach. This is an entry level position, and you will be trained to work directly with the aquarium visitors, students, community members, and marine animals. You will gain Aquarium and nonprofit experience and be able to work for a reputable nonprofit that has been established for over 35 years. Heal the Bay Aquarium is home to hundreds of organisms, native to the Santa Monica Bay. As Heal the Bay’s marine education facility, the aquarium strives to teach visitors about the importance of environmental stewardship and marine conservation.

Expectations & Responsibilities  

  • Associates will be assigned regularly scheduled shifts across the various programs, which may include support of Public Programs, Education, and Animal Care teams. Tasks will include:  
    • Running the cash register at the admissions desk, retail desk, or retail kiosk.
    • Interpretation and education at touch tank exhibits and other presentations such as feeding demonstrations.
    • Support the operations of birthday parties and other special events.
    • Teaching hands-on, science field trip curriculum  
    • Supporting aquarium science camp, afterschool enrichment, and other education programs  
    • Operate the mobile touch tanks which includes animal handling, animal transport, basic aquarium life support knowledge, and offsite animal interpretation.  
    • Create a welcoming environment that supports Heal the Bay’s mission of fostering inclusivity, dignity, and respect.
  • Stellar customer service skills with the ability to create a positive and memorable experience for all.
  • Support set-up and take-down of all program materials including checking for and reporting hazards.
  • Support maintenance of supplies and retail including packing, cleaning, inventory 
  • Work collaboratively and contribute positively to the aquarium team including supporting volunteers and interns. 
  • Keep aquarium exhibit space and classroom clean and organized and creates a positive visitor experience for all.  
  • Effectively follow all protocols and standard operating procedures and contribute to the development and growth of the programs.
  • Assist with other events and needs as assigned.  

Preferred Experience & Skills  

  • Excellent communication, customer service, and public speaking skills 
  • Conversational level knowledge of at least two languages is strongly preferred, with a preference for Spanish, Mandarin, or Tagalog  
  • Ability to respectfully communicate and respect visitors of all ages, ethnicities, exceptionalities, gender identities, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Strong organizational skills and detail-oriented, with the ability to be flexible, communicate well, and work collaboratively. 
  • Experience with outdoor or environmental education, or student-centered teaching strategies a plus 
  • Experience working with children and the ability to maintain an Adult and Infant CPR/First Aid/AED certification Must be at least 18 years of age.


$16.90 – $18.00 per hour with appropriate state and federal taxes withheld. All Heal the Bay recognized holidays will be compensated at 1.5x normal pay rate in accordance with time worked. 


There are no dental, medical, health insurance, or vacation benefits included as part of the employment. As per the state of CA Labor Law, the employee will be eligible to receive up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year, after completing 90 days of employment. 


Part-time 15-29 hours per week, but can expect an average of 25 hours based on scheduling needs. The Associate must be available to work in-person at Heal the Bay Aquarium during public hours, on the beach, and in possible off-site educational programs. Weekends, holidays, and after-hours events are required and will be part of the regular schedule.     

Physical Demands

Ability to work in variable weather conditions with potential exposure to heat, wind, and inclement weather both inside the Aquarium Pier Gift Shop on top of the Santa Monica Pier, the Aquarium Exhibit Gallery, and outdoors on the Santa Monica Pier and beach. 

 How to Apply  

Please apply here. Applications will be reviewed immediately and on an ongoing basis in the order they are received. This position will be hired ASAP, and remain posted until filled.

Heal the Bay is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status and we strongly encourage applications from individuals that reflect the diversity of Los Angeles County.

Heal the Bay complies with AB 1008, the Fair Chance Act, during the hiring process. Once a conditional job offer has been made the candidate will be asked to complete a Live Scan criminal background check. A thorough assessment of conviction history will be considered including: the nature and gravity of the criminal history, the time that has passed since the conviction, and the nature of the job the candidate is seeking.

Heal the Bay requires all staff to obtain and maintain up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations, when available. Heal the Bay believes this is an important measure to protect the health and safety of employees, volunteers, family members and those who visit the workplace from COVID-19 infection. Staff must show proof of vaccination (vaccination card or website).