Your dream career with animals awaits! Start your Animal Care Studies Online with a Nationally Recognised Course

Working or volunteering with animals is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have, and the best place to start is with this entry-level course.  ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (formerly ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies) will prepare you for a range of jobs such as an animal carer or animal attendant in a doggy daycare, kennel or cattery, stable, veterinary clinic, animal shelter or pet shop. 

This nationally recognised, 1 year course will give you the foundation skills and knowledge to get started in the animal care industry. It’s the perfect option for final year high school students wishing to undertake vocational studies or for someone who is considering further studies in animal care and veterinary nursing. 

Nationally recognised animal care course in Australia NRT

Course snapshot

  • Study mode: Online
  • Duration: Up to 1 year
  • Application Status: Apply now
  • Start: Flexible start date to suit you
  • Practical Training: at an Approved Workplace of your choice
  • Online Study Time: Approx. 10-15 hours per week
  • Prerequisite: No prior qualifications are required
  • Best suited to: Students who have little or no prior knowledge or experience in the animal care industry, and have a genuine interest in the welfare and care of animals or wish to meet the prerequisite for Veterinary Nursing.
Study animal care online in Australia
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Course outline

This course is delivered online and you will not be required to attend classes or lectures. You will:-

  • be provided with a login to our Online Learning Platform where you will find all of the course materials including interactive learning material, videos, and assessments. 
  • receive the personal support of our qualified Trainers & Assessors either via email, online chat or phone.  Our education team is made up of experienced and working veterinary nurses, veterinarians and animal scientists who have hands-on experience in a range of veterinary hospitals and animal related organisations and businesses, and 
  • have help and assistance from our student support team to help you stay on track

To gain the valuable practical skills required to successfully complete this course, we recommend you complete 100 hours of workplace based training (a Work Placement).

You are ultimately responsible for finding and securing your work placement position. This means you have the flexibility to select a workplace that suits your location, availability and interests. If you do not wish to find your own placement, you can choose from one of our Intensive Courses (WA based)

If you are already working in an animal care related business, or volunteering in an animal related organisation, it may be possible to use your place of employment for your workplace training. You will still need to submit your workplace details for review and approval.

Ideal work placement facilities include kennels, catteries, doggy day care centres, animal welfare shelters, pet shops (with access to animals), wildlife rehabilitation centres or zoos. Keep in mind, you will need to have access to at least two species of animals.  For more information see our Work Placement FAQ’s below or visit Practical Work Placements in Animal Care.

The ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care is an ideal starting point if you have very little or no prior knowledge or experience in the animal care industry. There are no prerequisites for entry into this course, making it a great pre-vocational course.

To complete the course you will:-

  • have a reliable internet connection and access to a desktop computer, laptop or electronic device. You will be required to write, submit and in some cases upload assessments and various types of multi-media files online, therefore we strongly recommend using a desktop or laptop computer for your studies
  • be proficient in speaking and writing in English
  • be physically capable of restraining animals, handling animal feed e.g. large bags of food of up to 10 kg and standing for extended periods of time.
  • need to be at least Year 10 high school age
  • to find a suitable workplace for your practical training where your supervisor can also read and write English.

We are unable to offer this course to students currently living overseas or those on a student visa. For more information visit our frequently asked questions below:-

When you visit your Work Placement you will be required to wear:

  • an AVT shirt and name badge (supplied by AVT),
  • suitable enclosed shoes (supplied by student),
  • neatly presented, long comfortable work pants suitable for bending and manual work (supplied by student).

You will be required to wear the AVT uniform unless specified by your approved workplace. 

What will you learn?

You will complete 12 units of study covering a broad range of topics relating to the principles of working in the animal care industry.  You will be introduced to:-

  • The principles of working and volunteering in the animal care industry
  • Following and implementing animal feeding plans
  • Carrying out animal care hygiene routines such as bathing and grooming
  • Safely and correctly handling and restraining animals
  • Assist with assessing the health of animals
  • Identifying and interpreting animal behaviour
  • Working with animal care records
  • Administer basic animal first-aid techniques 

All of the skills and knowledge you will learn can be applied across a broad range of animal care facilities. For more information on careers working with animals read our article Top 6 Animal Care Careers.

ACM20121 Animal Care Course - online studies

Course outcomes

Our graduates go on to a wide range of roles across the animal care industry. 

Job Outcomes

On successful completion of ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care you can go into roles such as:

  • Animal care attendant
  • Welfare shelter attendant
  • Kennel hand
  • Cattery attendant
  • Pet shop attendant
  • Assistant dog groomer
  • Pet sitters and walkers
  • Stable hand
  • Veterinary care assistant

Career Opportunities

This course will prepare you for career opportunities in a broad range of animal care organisations such as:

  • Doggy daycare centres
  • Dog kennels and boarding
  • Catteries 
  • Stables and agistments
  • Veterinary clinics  
  • Animal shelters, rehoming and rehabilitation centres
  • Pet shops and retail businesses
  • Groomers

Course content

Our ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care course is delivered in a clustered format. This means you can work through the theoretical and practical components  including assessments of your course in a streamlined and efficient manner. Our delivery method gives you an opportunity to progress quickly and complete your course sooner. 


All students must complete the following core units:

  • ACMWHS201 Participate in workplace health & safety processes
  • ACMGEN202 Complete animal care hygiene routines
  • BSBCMM211 Apply communication skills
  • ACMGEN203 Feed & water animals
  • ACMGEN204 Assist in healthcare of animals
  • ACMSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMGEN201 Work in the animal care industry

Online eLearning students will also be required to study:

  • ACMGEN309 Provide basic animal first aid
  • ACMGEN205 Source information for animal care needs
  • ACMGEN102 Approach and handle a range of calm animals
  • ACMINF201 Handle companion animals safely and follow infection control guidelines

Students must select one species-specific elective unit from this list below which will correspond with a species they are working with as part of their work placement. 

  • ACMSPE316 Provide general care of domestic dogs
  • ACMSPE317 Provide general care of domestic cats
  • ACMSPE314 Provide general care of birds
  • ACMSPE322 Provide general care of rodents or rabbits

Why choose our Online eLearning option for your Animal Care Course?

  • Complete flexibility – you can start and study whenever you like to suit your lifestyle and commitments.
  • Professionally managed and delivered course – complete with online instructional videos and materials to help you understand and apply theory easily.
  • Our clustered course format has been designed to reduce repetition and allow you to progress quickly and complete your course sooner.
  • Affordable, all inclusive monthly payment plan to help you manage your student fees.
  • This course will allow you to meet the prerequisite for Veterinary Nursing – you can gain your qualification in under 12 months and then apply for ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing to become a qualified veterinary nurse*.
  • This certificate increases your opportunities for employment in the animal care industry and gives recognition towards entry into further studies.

*Please note: Completion of this qualification meets the prerequisite for ACM40418 Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing. However, it does not guarantee you a place on one of our own courses. Due to high demand, our AVT selection criteria also apply. Please read full details on our Veterinary Nursing Course Entry page.

Nationally recognised animal care course in Australia NRT

What students say about this course

Fees & inclusions

Total course fees: $2,845*

Payable via our monthly payment plan. Initial payment of $260 plus 11 x $235 monthly payments and includes:-

  • Dedicated student support 
  • One-on-one mentoring by AVT Trainers including online chat and forums
  • Membership to our Private Facebook Group
  • Access to the online AVT Virtual Animal Shelter
  • Access to the AVT interactive online eLearning centre 
  • Assessments and Certification
  • Workplace practical training insurance
  • Work Placement Kit: Uniform, Name Badge, Workbook and Goodies

*Fees, inclusions and payment plan amounts are subject to change. If you decide to withdraw from study for any reason, refunds are not issued. Please see our policies page for full details. Concession rates are not available for this course
 ** Workplace Practical Insurance Cover only applies to students undertaking practical training whilst in Australia

Enrol now

Application Status
ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care
Course Application Status
ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care
Application Status
ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies 2021
Online eLearning Applications Open
ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care
ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care
February 2022 Intake
Course commences Feb 2022
Applications opening soon

Ready to enrol? It’s easy, just complete our online application form.  Once we have received and reviewed your submission you will receive an email outlining the next steps to get started. 


To receive a credit for a unit of competency that you have previously been awarded, you must be able to supply a verifiable Testamur (certificate) or Statement of Attainment obtained from the issuing provider.

A Testamur or Statement of Attainment must either contain the wording ‘The qualification is recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework’ or the AQF logo authorised by the AQF Council.

A Record of Results or Statement of Academic Record by itself is not sufficient when applying for a credit transfer of a nationally recognised unit of competency.

If you do not have a copy of your Testamur or Statement of Attainment you are responsible for requesting a copy from the issuing provider, we are unable to do this on your behalf.

For more information about RPL see our frequently asked questions here.

Why choose AVT?

Dedicated Animal Care College

AVT has been delivering Vet Nursing and Animal Care related courses for over 25 years. It's safe to say there are no plumbing or hairdressing courses here!

Prerequisite course for veterinary nursing

Outstanding Track Record

A recent NCVER VET student outcomes report found 93% of AVT graduates were employed or enrolled in further study after training and 95% of graduates would recommend the training provided by AVT.

Prerequisite course for veterinary nursing

Safe and Supported Learning

Our qualified teaching team have many years of experience as well as extensive backgrounds in the veterinary and animal care industry. They're approachable and dedicated to helping students succeed.

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