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Study Animal Management and Welfare today

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management - Companion Animals

Develop the knowledge and confidence to work with, care for and manage the daily needs of a range of companion animals in different situations and workplaces

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
Full time for one year with blended learning (includes online and block courses)

Programme overview

Working with companion animals is a rewarding and fun field with many diverse jobs and career paths. 
This programme explores the basics of animal anatomy, welfare, behaviour, and husbandry, as well as more advanced topics such as nutrition, care during illness or injury, including the safe use of medications, facility planning, behavioural training and enrichment. 
You’ll learn to recognise the signs of good and poor health in a range of companion animals – dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents, and birds – and understand how to best manage the care and welfare of these animals in various environments. 
You’ll delve into the social, ethical, and environmental issues affecting animal management in New Zealand. Work-integrated learning will help you communicate effectively in a team and apply basic business and customer service skills in the workplace. 


  • Learn in lots of different ways. This programme is a mix of online learning, off-campus practical training, and compulsory block courses at our Mt Albert campus. 
  • Practical, applied learning and work experience include hours of on-site practical training at Unitec’s Behaviour and Husbandry Centre, Te Puna Kararehe, and at least one other work placement at least one other animal management facility of your choice. 
  • A passionate teaching team. Learn from experienced lecturers who are experts in the fields of animal behaviour, health, and welfare, and continue to work and research closely with the industry.

Blended learning

This study option is full-time (off-campus and online), and you'll be required to attend three compulsory block courses at our Mt Albert campus.
To study from a distance, you need to be self-motivated, committed, and have excellent time management skills. You must attend all block courses, practical assessments, and work experience, and complete your self-directed study (research, reading, revision) and assessment writing.
You'll also need consistent access to a computer with a reliable internet connection and appropriate office software, e.g. Microsoft Office, which we'll provide once you‘re enrolled.

Where to next?

If you’re interested in continuing your studies, this programme will give you the academic admission requirements for the Bachelor of Applied Science (Animal Management and Welfare).




Te Puna Kararehe

Home to creatures of all shapes and sizes – furry, hairy and scaly – the Animal Behaviour and Husbandry Centre provides a safe and secure place to learn about the care, health and husbandry of a wide range of companion animal species.

One day, you might learn about enriching ways to feed a rabbit or what's involved with a guinea pig's routine health check. You may also use the facility to undertake behaviour-based research projects like food preference testing with a blue-tongue skink.

Then there's the added benefit of being able to interact with amazing animals on your lunchbreak, and make it as positive for the animals as it is for you.

Te Puna Kararehe

Admission requirements

To be admitted to this programme applicants must hold one of the following:

  • NZCEA Level 2 with Vocational Pathways Primary Industry endorsement; 
  • New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) with strands in Companion Animals, Equine, or Rural Animals; 
  • A relevant qualification at NZQF Level 2 or above;
  • A recognised equivalent

Additional requirements

All application needs to meet or submit the following;

  • Health and tetanus declaration
  • Provide a copy of your current criminal conviction history

You’ll also need to provide proof of your identity (ID) and other documents, such as academic certificates. Please have these handy when you’re ready to apply.

English language requirements

All applicants for whom English or te reo Māori is not a first language need to provide evidence that they have the necessary English language proficiency required for the programme. International applicants are required to have an IELTS score of 5 (general or academic) with no individual band lower than 5 from one test taken in the preceding two years, or an equivalent described in NZQA Rules.

Don’t meet these requirements?

There may be other options available:

  • If you’re over 20 and have relevant skills/life experience, or
  • If you’re under 20 and have the relevant reading, writing and numeracy skills.
  • We also have a range of Foundation and Bridging Education programmes to help you prepare for further academic study.

Simply apply online, and we’ll be in touch about your next steps.

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 2024; please check back again soon.

Courses Credits Aim
Companion Animal Practicum B (ANML4128TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies to provide ethical day-to-day care as a team member in an animal facility.
Courses Credits Aim
Anatomy and Physiology (ANML4002TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the anatomy and physiology of animal health and welfare
Companion Animal Husbandry B (ANML4123TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills, and competencies relevant to husbandry, enrichment, breeding and first aid to ensure optimum welfare, health and safety of companion animals.
Companion Animal Healthcare (ANML4124TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to companion animal health and preventative health care and treatment.
Companion Animal Behaviour (ANML4125TP) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to animal behaviour to ensure the health, safety and welfare of people and animals.

Unitec is part of Te Pūkenga

On 1 October 2022 Unitec became part of Te Pūkenga. Find out more about Te Pūkenga and what this means for you.