- Current students
- Under 25s
The New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) is a hands-on programme that teaches the practical skills, knowledge, and attributes needed to help assist with the care of animals in a clinical environment.
Through tutorials, group work, practical sessions, and demonstrations, you will learn to assist veterinarians and veterinary nurses and contribute to providing a high standard of care for animal patients. You will be able to put your skills into practice in Unitec’s veterinary simulation clinic as well as during placements at veterinary clinics.
As well as building practical skills, you will get a firm grounding in the principles that underpin the health, husbandry, welfare, and behaviour of animals. You will also learn the communication and business aspects needed to work effectively in animal industries. This combination will give you the ethical values and cultural understanding that you need to be an effective member of a professional veterinary team.
- Learn from lecturers who are experienced veterinarians and veterinary nurses, and who work closely with the veterinary industry
- Gain hands-on experience at your choice of external clinics across Aotearoa
- Develop a solid understanding of best practice in a professional clinical environment
- Benefit from a blended learning approach that includes group work, online tutorials, practical sessions, and one-to-one supervision
As part of this programme, you'll be required to complete a minimum of 240 hours of practical experience at a veterinary clinic.
To study from a distance, you need to be self-motivated, committed and have excellent time management skills. You need to attend all block courses, exams, practical assessments, work experience, as well as complete your self-directed study (research, reading, revision) and assessment writing.
You'll also need to have consistent access to a computer with a reliable internet connection and appropriate office software i.e. Microsoft Office, which we'll provide once you‘re enrolled.
Students also need to take part in three compulsory five-day block courses throughout the year at our Mt. Albert campus.
Where to next?
If you successfully complete the programme, you can apply to enrol in the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. You’ll need to successfully complete the diploma programme to be able to graduate as a qualified veterinary nurse and become registered with the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association.
You could also continue your studies with our Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing (Year 2).
Please note: International students who graduate will NOT be eligible for a post-study work visa upon completion of this programme. However, if you continue your studies into either the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing or the Bachelor of Veterinary Nursing, you will be eligible upon successful completion.
Part of your first-year practical experience is a minimum of 200 hours in an external clinic placement. It is recommended that you find this placement before the beginning of the programme.
For this programme, you will need the following:
- 60 credits at NCEA Level 2 including 12 credits in English;
- 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in one science subject;
- 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in Mathematics;
- Provide a brief overview (less than 1 page) detailing the following. This requirement replaces the standard work experience requirement in 2021:
- What you consider the role of a veterinary nursing assistant to be;
- Why you wish to study this programme;
- Any animal-related experience you have had.
- Sign a consent form allowing a Ministry of Justice convictions database search by Unitec Institute of Technology;
- Complete a medical declaration form.
If you don’t meet the academic criteria above, we have a range of Foundation and Bridging Education programmes that will help you prepare for further academic study.
If English is not your first language you will also need one or more of the following:
- Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance;
- Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency;
- Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years.
If you don’t meet the English criteria above, we have a range of English Language programmes available, depending on your current level of ability.
If you don’t meet these requirements, we may accept an equivalent qualification. You may also apply under special or discretionary entrance.
For more information download the 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.
|Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare (NSCI5702)||15 credits (0.125 EFTS)||To promote an understanding of the basic principles of animal behaviour and welfare as it applies to a range of animal species.|
|Animal Clinical Care (Sem A) (NSCI5705-SA)||7.5 credits (0.063 EFTS)||To enable the student to apply specific husbandry requirements for animals in clinical care and recognise the role of a veterinary assistant as part of a veterinary team.|
|Animal Clinical Care (Sem B) (NSCI5705-SB)||7.5 credits (0.063 EFTS)||To enable the student to apply specific husbandry requirements for animals in clinical care and recognise the role of a veterinary assistant as part of a veterinary team.|
|Clinical Animal Care Practicum (Sem A) (NSCI5710-SA)||15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS)||To enable students to appropriately apply the practical application of ’best practice’ husbandry and veterinary nursing, required for range of animals within a veterinary clinic.|
|Clinical Animal Care Practicum (Sem B) (NSCI5710-SB)||15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS)||To enable students to appropriately apply the practical application of ’best practice’ husbandry and veterinary nursing, required for range of animals within a veterinary clinic.|
|Veterinary Anaesthetic and Surgical Procedures (NSCI5711)||15 credits (0.125 EFTS)||To enable students to apply the principles and practices of anaesthetic, analgesic and surgical procedures in the role of the veterinary nursing assistant.|
|Introduction to Veterinary Clinical Practice (NSCI5712)||15 credits (0.125 EFTS)||This course prepares students to work effectively in the client interfacing areas of a veterinary business, with a focus on communication and job-readiness.|
|Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology (Sem A) (NSCI5720-SA)||7.5 credits (0.063 EFTS)||To enable students to understand the concepts of anatomy and physiology as they relate to the maintenance of homeostasis and animal health|
|Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology (Sem B) (NSCI5720-SB)||7.5 credits (0.063 EFTS)||To enable students to understand the concepts of anatomy and physiology as they relate to the maintenance of homeostasis and animal health|
|Principles of Animal Husbandry (NSCI5738)||15 credits (0.125 EFTS)||To enable the student to develop an understanding of the theoretical basis and application of animal husbandry in a range of animal species.|
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