Lead Interpreter

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Position Description

Title:                          Lead Interpreter

Department:            Visitor Programs &Interpretation

Classification:         Full-Time, Non-Exempt    

Reports To:              Manager of Visitor Programs

Direct Report(s):    N/A

Start Date:                March 2020 (subject to change)

Position Summary

The Lead Interpreter is responsible for enhancing the guest experience by teaching guests and connecting them to the and mission of the Mississippi Aquarium. This position will use public speaking skills to deliver interpretive programs, on-site presentations, tours, experiences, and animal ambassador talks.Additionally, the Lead will assist in staff training and daily scheduling to ensure all public contact areas are staffed. The Lead Interpreter will be the liaison for interns and volunteers for the Visitor Programs and Interpretation team. This person is expected to work alongside other members of the GuestExperience and Education team at the Mississippi Aquarium.


  • Minimum of 1 year as an interpreter in an informal education setting  
  • Minimum 4-year bachelor’s degree  
  • Strong verbal and writing skills  
  • Knowledge of current practices in conservation, scientific research, and environmental education practices.
  • Demonstrated public speaking skills and comfortable around small and large groups of different ages.  
  • Work in a collaborative team environment, cross-train and support all other Guest Experience areas with projects, planning, and training.
  • Experience handling animals or educational presentations

Minimum Qualifications

  • Certification with the National Association for Interpretation
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Products  

Essential functions of this job described may be subject to change at any time due to reasonable accommodation or other reasons. 

Position Attributes

  • Consistently looking forward, focused, ready to listen
  • A heart for service, always willing to provide support to fellow team members
  • Must be able to communicate needs and issues effectively  
  • Highly organized self-starter maintaining high standards  
  • Have an awareness and interest in the conservation of aquatic environments and their inhabitants  
  • Innovative, creative thinker; not afraid to propose something new and inspire others to do the same
  • Proactive in finding solutions, productive, and efficient  


  • Use exceptional public speaking skills to facilitate learning opportunities for guests at the Mississippi Aquarium.
  • Teach guests about the animals and mission of the Aquarium while also conducting presentations, behind-the-scenes tours, and guest experience programs.
  • Ensure a superior customer service that exceeds MSAQ’s standard of excellence  
  • Support all daily onsite interpretation and guest experience staff and volunteers
  • Assists managers with daily rotation schedules and ensure all MSAQ stations are manned.
  • Be the liaison for interns and volunteers for the Visitor Programs and Interpretation Department.
  • Follow all aquarium guest policies and safety procedures.
  • Assist in maintaining overall appearance of aquarium grounds and exhibits.
  • Attends all relevant trainings and meetings
  • Maintain a courteous and cheerful disposition when interacting with guests and staff.
  • Handle and present a variety of animal species (i.e., mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods); maintain current animal certification and proficiency.
  • Communicate with the Sales and Ticketing team to plan daily and weekly visitor programs.
  • Represent Mississippi Aquarium in a positive manner by maintaining a service-oriented disposition and using superior customer service to address challenges.
  • Work in a collaborative team environment, cross-train and support all other Guest Experience areas
  • Work weekends, evenings, holidays and overnights when necessary  

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job.  Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

Team Requirements

  • Safety and Security - All Team Members are required to adhere to all Mississippi Aquarium safety and security standards.
  • Attendance & Appearance - To maximize the guest’s experience, all Team Members are required to adhere to Mississippi Aquarium standard operating procedures regarding attendance and dress code policies as it relates to individual job functionality.
  • Sales & Guest Services - Our forward-thinking business model requires listening and understanding the needs of our guests both internal and external.  To that end, we must always be focused on the guest experience which is the key driver for return guest visitation and increased sales.
  • Team Partnership - All Team Members are focused on supporting each other to complete the guest experience.  Therefore, supporting, facilitating, and participating in activities that promote team effectiveness is vital to our Organization.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell.  The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. While performing the
duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.