Becoming a Veterinary Nurse


Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing is considered by the veterinary industry to be the base qualification required for a person who is deemed to provide competent support to a Veterinary Practice. Certificates II in Animal Studies is a progression towards this objective however they do not have identifiable employment occupations.


Where to start ...

Starting from Day One when you enter a veterinary practice as a work experience student – right up to the time when you become a Diplomaed Veterinary Nurse, there are qualifications and training resources available to suit your needs.

The national training qualifications also mean that your abilities can now be recognised anywhere in Australia at whatever level you work. You can get these qualifications by having your competence recognised in the workplace. Specifications for competence at the various levels are given in the Veterinary Nursing Training Package materials.

You will also need employment to be able to become competent to the standards required and there is often a shortage of such positions available. This is because many practices employ full-time, qualified support staff, remunerate them well, provide continuing education opportunities and value the contribution that the nurses make to the business. These nurses tend to remain at the practice for a number of years.

The job is a very popular one and when a position does become available the employer often fills the position from the files of resumes held or by word of mouth. Check local and national newspapers for ads under their “professional” or “medical” categories. Mail your resume to as many practices as possible, telephone and/or even take the initiative of presenting yourself in person at a practice for an appointment with the Practice Manager. Become a member and advertise yourself on our “nurses looking for work section” Or Look for job vacancies in our employment pages.


Currently Employed in the Industry?

You can have your experience and competence recognised as a part of the national qualification structure, this is called Recognition of Current Competence. Or you may have an older qualification and consider that you need to upgrade to current industry required standards.

You need to contact a Registered Training Organisation and request that an appropriately qualified Workplace Assessor makes contact with you. Having your current competence, skills and prior learning assessed means that once any gaps against the standards are identified and addressed, you will be able to receive a current national qualification. This may be important for your employment terms and conditions and as part of your personal career pathway.

For more details on the Recognition of Prior Learning Assessment Process please click here.


Extending Yourself!

The three Diploma qualifications allow nurses who hold the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing to apply for further training in a specific field. Applicants would need to have access to a solid caseload relating to their chosen area and this can be found at practices such as Specialist Referral Practices or Animal Emergency Centres. Nurses who hold one of these Extended qualifications would be competent as nurse support to a Specialist Veterinarian.


New Apprenticeships In Veterinary Nursing

The progressive implementation of the National Veterinary Nursing Training Package across Australia has significantly expanded the range of training opportunities available in the Veterinary Nursing sector. New and existing employees may be eligible.

A training agreement, which is signed by the Australian Apprentice and the employer and then registered with the State/Territory Training Authority, allows for the tailoring of the training to suit the needs of the practice and the Australian Apprentice over the life of the agreement.

An Australian Apprenticeship Centre will assist with the paperwork to register training agreements with State/Territory Training Authorities and check for eligibility for a range of government financial incentives and Australian Apprenticeship assistance measures.

For further information about Australian Apprenticeships and Veterinary Nursing as a career choice, go to and follow the links to the “On Track” video.