Animal Care

ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (Veterinary Nursing Pathway)

Start your pathway to a career in Veterinary Nursing

Are you passionate about caring for animals and see your future self working in a veterinary hospital one day? The ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (Veterinary Nursing Pathway), previously ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies, is just for you!

This certificate will allow you to meet the prerequisite for the national qualification in veterinary nursing or start your career as an animal attendant in a veterinary hospital.*

This 14-week course has been specifically designed towards aspiring veterinary nurses and ensures that you acquire essential skills and knowledge in simulated environments and is based at our AVT Veterinary Training Facility in Ascot, WA. The course format means you do not have to spend time finding your own work placement. Instead, you will learn your hands-on practical training alongside a small group of other students. Our highly experienced trainers will instruct and supervise you and you will also be required to complete home-based online learning throughout the week.

Government Funded Subsidised Discount fees for Animal Care and Vet Nursing

Are you unemployed or working less than 20 hours per week?

You maybe eligible for a funded Jobs and Skills WA position. Read More >>

Course snapshot

14 weeks

Next intake: July 2024

Application status: Apply now

Attendance: 2 days per week 

  • Classroom day: 1 day on-campus in Ascot (Tuesday)
  • Practical training day: 1 day per week at our Animal Care Facility in Ascot (Wednesday, Thursday or Friday)

Fees: Subsidised fees start from just $698.70*

Prerequisite: No prior qualifications are required

Best suited to: Students considering a career in Vet Nursing or commencing a career as an Animal Care Assistant

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Course outline

Our Veterinary Nurse Pathway course is delivered via blended learning incorporating on-campus practical training and online eLearning. You will participate in the following:

  • On-campus Orientation Day at the commencement of the course
  • Two days per week on-campus at our Ascot training facility (days of the week confirmed at time of enrolment)
  • Home-based online study to complete your theory and submit assessments

We will endeavour to meet your preference for practical training days but this can not be guaranteed. Attendance at ALL classroom and practical training days is compulsory.

Students must:

  • Be available to participate in ALL training days (2 days per week)
  • 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
  • Have a reliable internet connection and access to a desktop computer or laptop. You will be required to write, submit and in some cases upload assessments and various types of multi-media files online in your own time, therefore we strongly recommend using a desktop or laptop computer for your studies
  • Be proficient in speaking and writing in English
  • Due to the required workload and level of study, have a minimum level of schooling up to and including year 10, with a good understanding of science and maths.

You will be undertaking activities with cats. If you are pregnant or thinking about falling pregnant throughout the course, we suggest speaking with your doctor or medical professional before enrolment. If you would like to discuss your individual situation with us further, please feel free to get in touch with our student support team.

This course is highly competitive and has limited places. Therefore, successful students are selected based on prior work experience, education, individual attitude and aptitude. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by an AVT team member.

Credit transfers

Students with eligible credit transfers may apply, however, due to the course delivery format, 100% attendance is required for orientation/induction and practical placement days and therefore full course fees will apply.

You will be required to wear:

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

Essential Requirements
Throughout this course, you will need to:

  • Collaborate in group settings using both verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Effectively communicate with your peers and Trainer and Assessor.
  • Follow written and verbal instructions accurately.
  • Engage in group activities and practical assessments alongside your peers.
  • Complete workplace documentation using industry-specific language.
  • Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including enclosed shoes, gloves and sun protection.
  • Work within an animal care facility, handling and caring for various species. This environment by its nature will expose you to potential allergens.
  • Adhere to hygiene protocols to ensure animal health, which may involve contact with animal waste such as uneaten food, urine, faeces, soiled bedding and enrichment items.

Environmental Requirements
In this course, you will:

  • Attend theory classes with a maximum of 36 students.
  • Attend practical classes with a maximum of 12 students.
  • Work outdoors, exposed to various weather conditions.  
  • Be physically capable of lifting equipment, and standing or walking for extended periods.

Assessment Types
You will be assessed on your skills and knowledge in various ways, including:

  • Written answers, online assessments and tests, multiple choice questions, presentations, verbal questioning and practical tasks visually assessed by Trainer and Assessors.

What will you learn?

During our Vet Nursing Pathway course, you’ll become familiar with the fundamental principles of working in the animal care industry. You’ll also gain confidence in approaching, handling, and caring for a variety of animals, including cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and rodents. In addition to the topics covered in the Certificate II in Animal Care course, you will be introduced to:

  • Foundations of veterinary nursing reception duties
  • Understanding body language in animals and encouraging natural animal behaviours
  • Low stress handling and minimising stress in a veterinary clinic
  • Conducting animal hygiene routines e.g. clip, brush and wash
  • Assisting with healthcare assessments and administering basic first aid
  • Providing information on preventative treatments and nutrition to clients

Want to start your studies but still at high school?

If you're an upper high school aged student, our VETDSS course is designed for you!
Find out more here >>

All of the skills and knowledge you will learn can be applied in an entry level position such as an Animal Attendant in a veterinary hospital or can be used across a broad range of animal care organisations. For more information on careers working with animals read our article Top 6 Animal Care Careers.

Course outcomes

On completion, students meet the pre-requisite for ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, the nationally recognised course for a fully qualified veterinary nurse. Our graduates also can choose to go on to a wide range of roles across the animal care industry. 

Job Outcomes

Students who have completed the Certificate II in Animal Care go on to careers as a:

  • Animal care attendant
  • Welfare shelter attendant
  • Kennel hand
  • Cattery attendant
  • Pet shop attendant
  • Assistant dog groomer
  • Stable hand
  • Vet assistant

Career Opportunities

Jobs for our graduates are available across a range of organisations including:

  • Veterinary practices
  • Dog kennels, catteries and boarding facilities
  • Animal shelters, rehabilitation organisations and adoption and rehoming centres
  • Pet shops and animal related retail businesses
  • Groomers
  • Stables and agistments

Course content

All students must complete the following core units providing knowledge and skills across of range of animal species such as cats and dogs:

  • 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

Certificate II Intensive (Vet Nursing Pathway) Students will also be required to study:

  • ACMINF201 Handle companion animals safely and follow infection control guidelines
  • ACMVET201 Assist with veterinary nursing reception duties
  • ACMGEN309 Provide basic animal first aid
  • ACMGEN102 Approach and handle a range of calm animals
  • ACMSPE317 Provide General Care of Domestic Cats

Why choose an intensive pathway for your Animal
Care Course?

  • Professionally managed and delivered course – with on-site supervision, complete with tutorials and classroom sessions to help you understand and apply theory with ease.
  • Qualified Trainer and Assessors delivering supervised practical training and assessment with a structured study time table to ensure you stay on track and are learning from the best.
  • This intensive pathway will allow you to meet the prerequisite for Veterinary Nursing – you can gain your qualification in 14 weeks and apply for ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing to become a qualified veterinary nurse. *
  • No stress! This unique format course also means you do not have to worry about finding your own work placement normally required for this national qualification. Your essential practical training and classroom training will take place in a small group setting with other like-minded students.
  • 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 our Veterinary Nursing Pathway course

Fees & inclusions

  • Funded concession: $698.70*
  • Funded non-concession: $2,028.60*
  • Full fee: $3,900*

Your course fees will depend on your eligibility for a Jobs and Skills WA based funded position and your concession status. Please see detailed fees and funding information here. All fees are payable via our monthly payment plan. 

Our fees include:

  • Learning guides (Downloadable)
  • Textbooks (Downloadable)
  • Dedicated student support
  • One-on-one mentoring by AVT Trainers
  • Assessments and Certification
  • Practical training insurance
  • Work Placement Kit: Uniform, name badge and workbook 

If you would like more information about our fees, the initial deposit and payment plan, including options, please contact our friendly Student Support Team OR Request a Call

*Funded places are subject to eligibility and availability. The Student tuition fees are indicative only and are subject to change given individual circumstances at enrolment. Additional fees may apply such as resource fees and other fees. Full fees apply for participants who do not meet the Jobs and Skills WA Participation – Work Readiness program eligibility criteria.

If you decide to withdraw from study for any reason, refunds are not issued unless you are a Jobs and Skills WA funded student. Please see our policies page for full details.

Apply for our Veterinary Nursing Pathway course

Course Dates
Application Status
July 2024 Intake
Course runs 16 Jul 2024 - 18 Oct 2024
Applications Now Open
Oct 2024 Intake
Oct - Dec 24

This course has limited places with high demand. We reserve the right to close course intakes before the advertised close date. We recommend submitting your application below, as early as possible. For full details of the application process please visit this link.


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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