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New Zealand Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations

Are you passionate about protecting animals from cruelty or neglect? Take the first step towards becoming an animal welfare inspector with this one-year programme that offers the convenience of distance learning, with three six-day compulsory on-campus block courses.

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
Full-time distance learning for one year (including three six-day compulsory block courses, and compulsory work experience)

Programme overview

The New Zealand Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations is the only programme in the country to give you the specific skills and knowledge required to become a warranted animal welfare inspector, as recognised by the RNZSPCA (Royal New Zealand Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals) and MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries).

Explore the requirements, procedures, and powers of the animal welfare investigator role in terms of animal welfare law, animal health and welfare, and learn communication skills and techniques that will be used during investigations and prosecutions.


  • Essential for industry recognition; to become a warranted animal welfare investigator under the Animal Welfare Act 1999, you need to have the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Welfare Investigations and be employed by an approved organisation.
  • 26 hours of compulsory work experience: you'll spend 20 hours working alongside a practicing warranted animal welfare investigator, and an additional 6 hours in a district court.
  • Suitable for those who work with animals and want to learn more about animal health and welfare, and the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
  • Learn from a teaching team who are passionate about animals, experts in the fields of animal welfare investigations, animal behaviour, health, and welfare, and continue to work in or closely with industry.
  • Visiting industry experts and guest lecturers will give you a real feel for the career opportunities available in animal welfare investigations.

Distance learning

We expect students studying from a distance to be self-motivated and committed, and have excellent time management skills. You must attend all block courses, exams, practical assessments, work experience, as well as complete your self-directed study (research, reading, revision) and assessment writing.

Students must have consistent access to a computer with a reliable internet connection and appropriate word processing and slide presentation software. This will be provided by Unitec and downloadable once you‘re enrolled.

Admission requirements

For this programme, you need the following: 

  1. 48 credits at NCEA Level 2 or equivalent/higher in your best four subjects, including: 
  2. At least 14 credits at NCEA Level 1 in mathematics or Pangaru 
  3. At least 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 in English or Te Reo Māori 
  4. Be at least 18 years old by the time the programme begins 

If English is not your first language you will need one or more of the following: 

  • Have achieved at least 8 NCEA Level 2 credits in English (4 in reading, 4 in writing) 
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency 

If you don’t meet these requirements, you may be eligible for either special or discretionary admission 

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses, please click on the course names below. Please note that our systems are updating with new course timetable information for 2019; please check back again soon.





The 'Key Information for Students' below does not reflect any international student information.

Please take this information as a guideline only. For example, you will often see a difference between these tuition fees and our estimate above. This is because there are a number of variables, such as the specific courses chosen within a programme.

The national graduate outcomes information is for all tertiary New Zealand providers including Unitec. This information is provided by the New Zealand Government and is derived from a national database that links educational and income information.

Key Information for Students

Entry requirements

Minimum requirementsInfo Icon: Minimum of 48 level 2 NCEA credits in best 4 subjects including a minimum of 14 credits in Mathematics and a minimum of eight credits at Level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori or special admission.

Detailed requirements: See the above "Admission requirements" section for more information about entry to this progrogramme.


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Tuition Fees


Total Qualification

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Compulsory Student Services Fee
Student loan information available at StudyLink.

National graduate outcomes

(3 years after completion)
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Note:All KIS information is the most recent available relating to domestic students only. Click here for more information about the Key Information for Students.