In 1989 a proposal to establish a Zoo Curator's Training Academy was distributed to more than 30 zoo professionals attending the annual conference of the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AAZPA). Receiving a positive response, we tabulated the results and re-evaluated the proposal. A task force was created in August 1990 to further define the target audience and to develop a curriculum and budget. The proposal was submitted to the AAZPA Board of Directors at the annual conference in September 1990, and the Board agreed to fund creation of an AAZPA Conservation Academy. The Academy's first course, Studbook I, was presented in February 1991 and taught methods for collecting and entering data into a specially tailored computer program. The course was well received by the students and their institutions. A second course, SSP Coordinator Training, was piloted in 1992 and achieved similar results by teaching standardized methods, including the use of a publishing format for the AAZPA's SSP programs. In 1993 the Institute of Museum Services (IMS) approved funding for development of a third course, the Science of Zoo and Aquarium Animal Management. This course, introduced in February 1994, fulfills the second of the Association's mandates for the Academy—to address animal husbandry by integrating scientific methods with animal management techniques and thereby establish standards for data bases and management plans. All Academy courses have been designed to be “hands-on” participatory experiences and, combined with lectures, effectively train students to “do the job.” © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.