What qualification do you need to become a veterinary nurse?

A career as a veterinary nurse is one of the most rewarding, exciting and fulfilling vocations in the world, where you will never stop learning, evolving and growing.

Veterinary Nurse Australia - training optionsWith the job title of veterinary nurse comes great responsibility. And the skills and knowledge required to become a veterinary nurse today reflects the important and constantly evolving role a nurse plays in the veterinary hospital and in the care of their patients.  You are responsible for the monitoring, comfort and well-being of your patients as well as providing exceptional communication with the owners, so they understand what is happening to their beloved pets.

What is a veterinary nurse?

The role of a veterinary nurse has dramatically changed over the last 10-15 years to become one of the most diversified job titles around.  The role has changed from being just a cleaner, animal assistant and receptionist to one where the nurse closely supports the veterinarian in many technical areas, working alongside the vet to provide the very best of care to their patients. Today, veterinary nurses are required and expected to perform much higher level duties which makes the job very rewarding and stimulating.

Above all a veterinary nurse provides essential nursing care for all of their patients and this care may include:

  • Cleaning and sterilisation of all equipment, cages, laundry, surgical instruments, etc
  • Cleaning, feeding, medicating, monitoring, comforting and observing patients
  • Assisting with anaesthesia and monitoring of patients
  • Preparation of patients for surgery
  • Assisting with radiography or ultrasonography
  • Running blood tests on on-site laboratory machines
  • Taking blood samples, placing iv catheters
  • Dental procedures such as a scale and polish
  • Triage and emergency procedures
  • Educating and informing owners on how to look after their pets
  • Providing excellent customer service, educating and informing owners
  • Keeping accurate client and patient records

To do all of these tasks competently and to take on these responsibilities, the training required to become a qualified veterinary nurse must incorporate both the theoretical knowledge as well as the essential practical skills covering all of these important areas.

What qualifications do you need to become a veterinary nurse in Australia?

Vet Nursing qualifications - husky dogIn order to be employed as a qualified veterinary nurse in Australia, you need to obtain the ACM40412 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. The training and information you receive whilst studying this qualification will give you the underpinning knowledge and skills required to competently assist the veterinarian and to carry out the many skills expected of qualified nurses to provide the highest quality of care to their patients and clients. (see above)

How do you gain a qualification in vet nursing?

Veterinary nursing is a very hands on vocation and gaining a veterinary nursing qualification requires both practical training in a veterinary hospital complemented with the theoretical underpinning knowledge.

As you can appreciate, many people aspire to being a veterinary nurse, and so this qualification is very competitive.

There are several pre-requisites for the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. For more information visit the Fees & Entry tab on our Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing overview page.

In summary, these include:

  1. Academic AbilityEvidence of your ability to study at the Certificate IV level. This may be based on your completion of school or other studies. Good results in subjects such as Science(eg Biology), Maths and English will strengthen your application.
  2. Exposure to Animal Care – Past experience in animal care: having a background with animals and working or volunteering in animal care facilities will be favourable/preferred
  3. Your suitability to Veterinary Nursing – A professional, mature, positive, hard working attitude with good interpersonal skills.  

If you are unable to gain direct entry into the Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing, you can strengthen your application by pursuing other qualifications relating to animals, eg Certificate II or Certificate III in Animal Studies.

Do you need to have a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing to be a Vet Nurse in Australia?

Vet Nurse Qualification studyTo be employed and paid as a qualified veterinary nurse, you need to have the Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing.

However, many nurses may begin their careers in the veterinary industry, working as animal attendants or volunteering their time at a veterinary hospital. Over time, if they are competent and show ability and aptitude, they may then have the opportunity to become trained in other areas of animal care, including basic veterinary nursing tasks. However these tasks must always be carried out under supervision of a qualified veterinary nurse or veterinarian.

In order to be able to perform all required veterinary nursing tasks and gain employment as a veterinary nurse, you need to obtain the Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing.

For more information on Vet Nursing visit ACM40412 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing