Open main menu Close main menu
Study Animal health and welfare today

Veterinary Nursing

Interested in veterinary nursing? Whether you’re looking to take the first step towards your career as a vet nurse, or already working in the industry, we have a programme to suit your needs. 

Explore your options

Our veterinary nursing programmes teach you the practical skills, knowledge and attributes that you need for a fulfilling career caring for animals in a clinical environment.

Still deciding if this path is right for you? You can start with our one-year New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant), which gives you a firm grounding in the principles that underpin the health, husbandry, welfare, and behaviour of animals.

Please note: Graduates of this programme must also complete the New Zealand Diploma (below) to be eligible for registration with the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association.

Looking to continue your journey? If you’ve completed the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) or equivalent, you can move into the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, where you’ll have the opportunity to gain registration as a veterinary nurse, and develop the technical skills and medical knowledge you need to become an effective veterinary nurse within a professional team.

Want to go the extra mile? Take the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing, which includes both the New Zealand Certificate (first year) and New Zealand Diploma (second year), plus an additional third year, where you can take your registration one step further, by extending your research and critical thinking. You can also choose to work on a real-life research project for a Vet Nursing organisation in Aotearoa or overseas. 

Please note: Graduates of the New Zealand Certificate and New Zealand Diploma automatically gain entry into the second and third year (respectively) of the Bachelors. 

Distance Learning

Our New Zealand Certificate and New Zealand Diploma include distance learning options. If you're a distance learner, you will need to take part in four compulsory six-day block courses throughout the year at our Mt. Albert campus .
  • Studying from a distance is somewhat different to studying on-site, however the approximate overall study time is the same as it would be for any full-time campus-based programme.
  • A large quantity of reading material will be supplied, mainly by our web-based learning platform (Moodle), and will come in a range of electronic formats.
  • Lecturers will also provide online assessments which will automatically provide feedback to you. Discussion forums are set up for all students to participate in, some of which may be assessed.
  • Lecturers and course coordinators may use Moodle to contact individual students by email, and will often load important announcements for the whole class to view. It is imperative that you access Moodle consistently during the week (including weekends) to keep on track in all aspects of the programme. You will receive training on how to use Moodle in your first block course.

Before you apply

Prior to enrolment in either the New Zealand Certificate, or the Bachelors, applicants must complete at least three days’ work experience in a veterinary clinic, and provide a letter of recommendation from them. We recommend that you provide this letter as early as possible to speed up your application process.

During your programme of choice, you’ll also be required to complete at least 200 hours of practical experience in an external clinic. We recommend that this is also arranged prior to the start date. You’re able to complete this at the same clinic where you complete your initial work experience if this option is available. 

Programmes and study path

Start with a programme that suits your qualifications and/or experience, then progress to a level that achieves your goals.
PROGRAMME LEVEL DURATION CAREER OPTIONS START DATES
New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) 5 Full-time for one year or distance learning options available. Veterinary nurse assistant (NZ or overseas veterinary clinics), Animal shelter/rescue centre employee, Kennel/cattery employee, Pet product industry representative, Laboratory animal assistant, Own business options such as pet minding, product retail, etc February
New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing 6 Full-time for one year, part-time for two years or distance learning options available Qualified veterinary nurse (with opportunities to advance to senior levels), Veterinary clinic practice manager, Pet food company representative, Veterinary supply company representative, Pharmaceutical company representative, Laboratory animal manager, Laboratory animal technician, Breeding centre manager February
Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing 7 3 years full time, part-time options available in Year 2 and 3 Qualified veterinary nurse (with opportunities to advance to senior levels), Veterinary clinic practice manager, Breeding centre manager, Laboratory animal manager February