If you are looking to start a career caring for animals including a career in veterinary nursing, there are a few things you should know about choosing a suitable course. Firstly, after a quick website search you will find there are two types of courses offered, accredited and non accredited. A vocational education and training (or VET) accredited course has the following characteristics:
- Meets AQF standards – This stands for “Australian Qualifications Framework”. This is the national standard for training and education in Australia. It began in 1995 to create a baseline of quality that governs any qualification earned in the country related to schools, training programmes, higher education and so on.
- Contains a special code that can be found on the National Register – This is one way you can be sure that it has the quality that you need for your future career. e.g ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing
- Has been developed by industry consultation – accredited courses reassure employers your skillset matches those required by industry – Accredited courses are designed specifically to meet the needs of industry ensuring all the relative laws and regulations are incorporated.
What is a Nationally Recognised Qualification?
There are many institutions throughout Australia offering a range of courses in the area of animal care. However, there are only a few courses that are industry recognised and also deemed a “Nationally Recognised Qualification.” These courses are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority or ASQA (Australian Government).
What’s the difference between a Non-accredited and Accredited Course?
Courses that are non-accredited may still be useful for increasing your knowledge and skills, but they won’t help you receive an accreditation. A vocational education and training (VET) accredited course has been assessed by ASQA as compliant with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2021 and the Australian Qualification Framework (learn more). Courses that don’t have the VET designation and that haven’t been approved by ASQA are not accredited.
Why choose an accredited course?
There are many benefits to choosing an accredited course.
- Employers often list accredited certifications as essential criteria in their job advertisements. We find this to be the case in the animal care and veterinary industry.
- Courses are reviewed by industry panels and therefore reflect the current skills needs of workplaces.
- Accredited providers are regularly audited to ensure the training offered meets the stringent requirements of ASQA.
- Units studied in an accredited course can be used for RPL (recognition of prior learning) in other accredited courses.
What types of courses can be accredited?
Just about any type of course can be accredited. You can search training.gov.au to find a course that covers topics you are interested in.
How do you know if a training course is accredited?
One of the most surefire ways to see whether the course is accredited is to check the Australian Government’s website, training.gov.au. You can search for the course, then check the training provider you are researching is approved to offer the course.
Who can deliver an Accredited Course and what does RTO mean?
A registered training organisation (RTO) is a provider registered by ASQA or a state regulator, such as the Training Accreditation Council (TAC) in Western Australia, to deliver recognised VET training and qualifications. Registration with ASQA or a state regulator confirms that the provider is capable of meeting rigorous government standards and is permitted to issue nationally recognised qualifications (learn more). There are two ways you can identify an RTO. Firstly look out for the ‘Nationally Recognised Training” logo and secondly an RTO provider number. An RTO number must be displayed on an RTO’s advertising materials including their website. Once you have the RTO number, be sure to search training.gov.au to ensure the organisation’s registration is current and they are approved to deliver the course you are interested in.
We have been training animal care, animal behaviour and training, equine care and veterinary nursing students for over 20 years in Australia. Students who undertake AVT courses range from high school-aged students just starting their pre-vocational journey right through to mature-aged students seeking an alternative career path. Graduates are highly respected and sought after by industry professionals, businesses and organisations. If you want the background knowledge and skills to help you secure your career in the animal care industry, check out our qualifications here or gain new skills by studying one of our short courses.