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New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant)

Learn the fundamentals of veterinary nursing with lots of opportunities to put theory into practice at Unitec’s on-campus veterinary clinic Vet Care Unitec, sister clinic Vet Care Grey Lynn, as well as your choice of external clinics across New Zealand.

Level
5
Credits
120 (1.0 EFTS)
Campus
Mt Albert
Start dates
February
Duration
Full-time for one year or distance learning options available.

Programme overview

Please note: Entry into this programme requires you to provide us with a reference from a veterinary clinic confirming you have completed at least three days’ worth of work experience. We recommend that you complete this before you apply to ensure the application process is as smooth as possible. 

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 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.

Highlights

  • Learn from lecturers who are experienced veterinarians and veterinary nurses, and who work closely with the veterinary industry
  • Gain hands-on experience at Unitec’s partner veterinary clinic Vet Care, as well as 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

Distance Learners

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.

Students also need to take part in four compulsory six-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.

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.

Admission requirements

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:

1. 60 credits at NCEA Level 2 including 12 credits in English
2. 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in one science subject
3. 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in Mathematics
4. Demonstrate work experience with animals and an aptitude for working with the public:

  • Supply an employer letter of recommendation (you need to have spent at least three days working in a veterinary clinic)

  • References, please provide referee details; one from an employer where you have worked with the public and one from a teacher (or similar) attesting to your social skills

5. Sign a consent form allowing a Ministry of Justice convictions database search by Unitec Institute of Technology
6. Complete a medical declaration form
7. If English is not your first language, you will 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

Don't have NCEA? We also accept:

  • An equivalent qualification.

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 2020; the course timetables for 2020 will be available in mid-November.

Courses Credits Aim
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.
Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Sem A) (NSCI5702-SA) 7.5 credits (0.063 EFTS) To promote an understanding of the basic principles of animal behaviour and welfare as it applies to a range of animal species.
Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Sem B) (NSCI5702-SB) 7.5 credits (0.063 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.
Veterinary Anaesthetic and Surgical Procedures (Sem A) (NSCI5711-SA) 7.5 credits (0.063 EFTS) To enable students to apply the principles and practices of anaesthetic, analgesic and surgical procedures in the role of the veterinary nursing assistant.
Veterinary Anaesthetic and Surgical Procedures (Sem B) (NSCI5711-SB) 7.5 credits (0.063 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.