How Long Does It Take To Become A Veterinary Nurse

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

The idea of becoming a Veterinary Nurse can seem a little daunting but if you are interested in a career in animal health, the rewards are many. The following is a guide to help your general understanding of what it takes to become a veterinary nurse, and hopefully answer some questions along the way.

This article below provides detailed information on masters in veterinary pharmacy, masters in veterinary nursing and veterinary graduate programs.

You’ll also find many helpful information on veterinary nurse salary, veterinary nurse school requirements and what does a veterinary nurse do on Collegelearners.

How to become a veterinary nurse | Training and qualifications | Blue Cross

How Long Does It Take To Become A Veterinary Nurse

The current veterinary nursing qualification is the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s (RCVS) level three diploma in veterinary nursing.  

It can be done on either a full time basis or apprenticeship-style alongside a job in a veterinary practice. It takes between two and three years to qualify.  

Some universities offer a foundation or BSc honours degree in veterinary nursing too – contact them directly for entry requirements and prospectuses. 

To start training as a veterinary nurse you must have the following minimum educational qualifications: 

Five GCSEs at grade C and above (or five Scottish Standard Grades one to three), which must include English language, maths and a science subject.

OR

An animal nursing assistant (ANA) or veterinary care assistant (VCA) qualification, along with functional skills level two in application of number and communication. 

The British Veterinary Nursing Association can provide details about these qualifications and how to get them.

Other qualifications may be considered acceptable – you’ll need to discuss this with your local college. 

There is no age limit for when you can begin training as a veterinary nurse. 

Qualifying as a veterinary nurse 

To qualify as a veterinary nurse you must:

Be enrolled as a student veterinary nurse with the RCVS.

Attend college-based study for a minimum of 22 weeks over the period of training before exams are sat – usually two years. The college must be approved by the RCVS.

Complete a minimum of 60 full time weeks of practical experience within an RCVS registered training practice.

Compile an electronic nursing progress log (NPL) which provides a complete record of the clinical skills you have learned throughout your training.

Pass written multiple choice question exams in the theory of veterinary nursing. 

Nurse checks on dog through kennel

Pass a practical exam in veterinary nursing skills.

Once you’re qualified you’ll need to pay an annual registration fee to the RCVS in order to undertake certain privileges under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 Schedule Three Amendment Order 2002.

A list of approved course providers, centres and training practices, as well as an application form to enrol as a student veterinary nurse, is available from the RCVS website.

veterinary nurse school requirements

Here are some steps you can take to become a veterinary nurse:

1. Graduate from high school

In order to attend veterinary school, complete your high school education or earn a GED. While in school, focus on science and math since those subjects can be important in the veterinary field for various tasks such as weighing animals and measuring medicine dosages.

2. Gain experience with animals

Because work experience is usually a requirement for finding a job as a veterinary nurse, it is helpful to gain experience with animals early on. This can help you learn if being a veterinary nurse is a job you would be interested in and want to pursue an education for. Besides volunteering at a veterinarian clinic, consider other animal environments such as your local animal shelter or kennel.

3. Attend a nursing program

You can earn a veterinary nursing degree through a college accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Veterinary nurses can earn either a two-year degree to become a veterinary technician, or a four-year degree to become a veterinary technologist. Classes cover related topics, such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Small animal nursing
  • Preventive health care
How to become a vet nurse - PDSA

3. Get licensed

Most veterinary nurse positions require being licensed. Research the requirements for your state so you can prepare to get your license to practice as a nurse.

4. Earn a certification

Depending on where you are located, you may also want to earn a related certification in animal studies, veterinary nursing or another related field. Earning a certificate can help you specialize your knowledge in the industry and become more marketable for jobs. You can earn a certificate online, and it typically takes less than a year to complete.

veterinary nurse salary


Annual Salary
Monthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$39,000$3,250$750$19
75th Percentile$34,500$2,875$663$17
Average$30,175$2,514$580$15
25th Percentile$25,000$2,083$480$12
How to become a Veterinary Nurse - Salary, Qualifications, skills & Reviews  – SEEK

How much does a Veterinary Nurse make?

As of Jan 7, 2022, the average hourly pay for a Veterinary Nurse in the United States is $14.51 an hour.

While ZipRecruiter is seeing hourly wages as high as $20.19 and as low as $9.62, the majority of Veterinary Nurse wages currently range between $12.02 (25th percentile) to $16.59 (75th percentile) across the United States. The average pay range for a Veterinary Nurse varies greatly (by as much as $4.57), which suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location and years of experience.

Based on recent job posting activity on ZipRecruiter, the Veterinary Nurse job market in both Lagos, NG and throughout the entire state of is not very active as few companies are currently hiring. A Veterinary Nurse in your area makes on average $15 per hour, or the same as the national average hourly salary of $14.51. ranks number 1 out of 50 states nationwide for Veterinary Nurse salaries.

To estimate the most accurate hourly salary range for Veterinary Nurse jobs, ZipRecruiter continuously scans its database of millions of active jobs published locally throughout America.

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