Selection Criteria and Entry Information

Veterinary Nursing

Studying Veterinary Nursing - course entry

Your application starts here

Our goal is to see students succeed in their animal care career path and to ensure we provide the veterinary industry with high quality, employable graduates. There are two factors we consider when assessing applications for our courses.

Firstly, applicants are required to meet the Compulsory Prerequisite outlined by ASQA (Australian Government) . Secondly we review each applicant based on a combination of individual experience, education, ability and suitability to work with animals. We often refer to this as the AVT Selection Criteria.  Learn more about this below.

Compulsory Prerequisite

To enrol in ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, you will be required to have either:


  • Completed a Relevant Animal Science Discipline Course

    You have a relevant Certificate III or higher level qualification in an animal science discipline;


Assessing whether or not you meet the prerequisite for ACM40418 Certificate IV in Vet Nursing is done by a personalised review of each and every applicant. If you feel you don’t meet the prerequisite, we can assist you with one of our unique combination pathways that will fast-track your application so you can get started as soon as possible. Simply contact us for more information.

Information about AVT's selection criteria

Our graduates are sought after by Veterinary Practices throughout Australia. One of the reasons for this is our selection process. Therefore places in the AVT Veterinary Nursing course are highly competitive and limited. This also means applicants are subject to our normal selection process. This involves considering your aptitude for working in the animal care industry. If you are currently employed in a veterinary practice and have the support of your employer to study this qualification, this will be considered favourably.

When selecting students, we also consider two other important criteria as outlined below.

We look for evidence of your ability to study at the Certificate IV level. This may be based on your completion of school or other studies. We do not apply strict rules on what schooling you need to have completed and all students can present evidence of their ability to show equivalency to this level.

It is recommended that you have completed or have equivalent language, literacy and numeracy at a year 12 high school level. Throughout this course, you will be required to read and interpret workplace policy and procedures, technical and medical terminology, perform moderate level calculations and exercise various forms of workplace communications.

For students that do not have evidence of previous studies we may ask you to complete one of our own aptitude assessments that may allow you to demonstrate your ability. These assessments are designed to assess your language, literacy and numeracy skills. We may ask you to take some further background studies if we feel you need extra study experience.

Veterinary nursing can be both a physically and emotionally challenging job at times and requires you to have a certain amount of resilience and maturity due to the nature of the veterinary industry and the type of situations that you will face.

A veterinary nurse’s role involves as much interaction with people as it does with animals. This means excellent communication and customer service abilities are essential. Good interpersonal skills are required to be able to interact with and convey information to clients and other members of the hospital team.

Our selection process will take into consideration the quality of your application as well as how you perform during a formal interview, either face to face, Zoom, Teams or via telephone (if your application reaches this stage). Behavioural, cognitive and interpersonal assessments are used to help us with our selection.

As mentioned above, places are highly competitive and limited.

Preparing your application?

We’ve put together a few tips on how to submit your application for the ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing at AVT. 

FAQs about meeting the prerequisite

Meeting the compulsory prerequisite or equivalency does not guarantee entry into ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. Once prerequisites have been met, prospective students may then apply for entry in to the course and are subject to the course selection criteria as described here.

You will be required to complete an online application form to apply for this course. This form includes questions about your previous knowledge and skills as well as other qualifications you have completed.

If you have completed an alternative qualification that may be equivalent to the prerequisite, you will need to submit formal qualification documents including a certificate and results listing all units studied such as a Statement of Attainment (note these are not required if your qualification was gained from AVT).

If you believe you have relevant knowledge and skills as a result of workplace experience – you will be required to provide information about previous experience.  See our separate FAQ on ‘What evidence do you need of my workplace related skills and knowledge?’.

If you have successfully completed the ACM20121 Certificate in Animal Care or a directly equivalent qualification you can complete the full application form. Here’s a few things you will be asked about:

  • Proof of completion for Certificate II in Animal Care or equivalent (if not studied via AVT)
  • Unique Student Identifier – If you don’t already have a USI number, you will need to apply for one. This is easy to do, just go to our USI page to find out more.
  • Previous study and experience – you will be asked about your previous workplace experience, whether that be an employed position or even volunteer work. If you have any proof of work experience or employment, make sure you have a digital copy on hand to upload, particularly if it is related to working with animals. Here’s just some of the documents that are of interest:
    • References (personal, work or education related references on business letterhead)
    • Offers of employment or work experience
    • Short courses you may have undertaken
    • Evidence of experience in caring for animals
    • Records of education including school, college, TAFE, university records
    • Work experience references/ statements
    • Statement of Attainments
  • Your why! – We want to know why you want to study and work as a veterinary nurse. You’ll need to write at least 250 words telling us why you are applying and include any information about your past experience with animals. This is one of the most important parts of your application, so think carefully before submitting your statement. Please note, your statement should not exceed 500 words. 

If you cannot provide sufficient evidence to prove you meet the prerequisites, we will then work with you to establish a unique fast-track program for entry.

AVT recognised animal care qualifications that qualify for exemption

The following nationally recognised qualifications are examples of related qualifications that can be deemed equivalent:

  • ACM30117 Certificate III in Animal Studies
  • ACM30121 Certificate III in Animal Care Services
  • ACM30122 Certificate III in Animal Care Services
  • ACM30217 Certificate III in Animal Technology
  • ACM30317 Certificate III in Captive Animals
  • ACM30417 Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
  • ACM30617 Certificate III in Pet Grooming
  • ACM40117 Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
  • ACM40217 Certificate IV in Captive Animals
  • ACM40617 Certificate IV in Pet Styling
  • ACM50117 Diploma of Animal Technology
  • ACM50317 Diploma of Horse Stud Management
  • ACM50417 Diploma of performance Horse Management:

Other qualifications may be relevant, although must be a Certificate III or a higher level qualification and will include those where you can demonstrate you have gained experience in all of the following five areas:

  1.  Work health and safety risks in an animal care facility
  2.  Animal identification, handling and behaviour
  3.  Animal nutrition (prepare, present and distribute food and water for animals under supervision and according to animal dietary requirements)
  4.  Animal hygiene routines
  5.  Animal husbandry and health routines.

As a guide, examples of other qualifications involving animals that may meet equivalency include commencement or completion of degrees in areas such as:

  • Animal Science
  • Zoology
  • Animal Conservation e.g. Wildlife and Conservation
  • Animal Management
  • Agriculture

Unfortunately a non-animal science based university or college qualification does not meet the prerequisite for this course. You will need to show evidence of knowledge in animal care or animal studies.

Examples of tertiary qualifications that will NOT meet the prerequisite include:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Psychology
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Law
  • Bachelor of Commerce.

Please refer to our previous question for qualifications that do qualify for recognition.

FAQs about demonstrating equivalent skills and knowledge

In order for us to ascertain whether you meet the entry requirement as a result of knowledge and skills you have gained in the workplace,  you need to provide evidence which is relevant and current and may include:

  • Relevant work history, whether that be voluntary or employed work (including a description of the workplace, position held, duties undertaken, duration and supervisor details)
  • References from relevant employers and supervisors

We may or may not also need to carry out verbal or written testing of certain subjects/units to help us with the assessment of your application for exemption from completing a Certificate II in Animal Studies/Animal Care. Fees may apply.

Equivalency of the prerequisite qualification, Certificate II in Animal Care/Studies may include relevant employed or voluntary (work experience) positions in a range of animal care facilities.

You will be asked to demonstrate equivalent skills and knowledge in the following five areas:

  1. Work health and safety risks in an animal care facility
  2. Animal identification, handling and behaviour
  3. Animal nutrition (prepare, present and distribute food and water for animals under supervision and according to animal dietary requirements)
  4. Animal hygiene routines
  5. Animal husbandry and health routines

Here’s some examples of tasks you may have performed whilst working in an animal care facility:

  • basic care of animals, including feeding, exercise, grooming, washing of animals
  • understanding of basic animal care needs i.e. diet, fleas, worms etc
  • cleaning/ hygiene procedures of the animal’s environment, eg cage, enclosure, bedding, stable
  • handling animals regularly using appropriate handling and restraint methods and can identify basic animal behaviour signs
  • observing and recording animals’ behaviour
  • following Occupational Health and Safety guidelines with an understanding of hazards in the animal care industry,
  • Ability to identify basic health care concerns in animals i.e. canine cough, ringworm, cat flu etc

Examples of animal care related workplaces where you will need to demonstrate at least a minimum of 1 years’ experience include:

  • Animal shelters
  • Kennels
  • Catteries
  • Sanctuaries
  • Veterinary practices
  • Pet shops
  • Animal research facilities
  • Other areas of animal care work where the student is completing tasks under supervision.

Unfortunately, caring for your own pets at home or hobbies and interests with animals is not adequate experience.

If your skills and knowledge are deemed equivalent, this does not mean you will be awarded a Certificate II in Animal Care/Studies. Nor does it guarantee you entry into this course. Our normal selection criteria applies for all courses.

Additional Considerations

Requirements for our Online students

Places are offered to online students based on the availability of a Veterinary Practice to support your training. If you are not based in WA and not employed in a practice, you are required to locate a practice willing to support you. For prospective students we have developed a workplace kit to assist you.

What happens if you do not meet the criteria?

If we are not able to offer you a place at the time of your application, we will advise you on a plan for the future. This may include an education pathway such as qualifications in animal care or seeking work experience.

Practical training opportunities for animal care