what degree do you need to be a vet nurse

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

We’ll tell you how to become a vet nurse, complete with the steps you need to take to get your degree. We’ll also help you understand what veterinary nurse degree programs are available at colleges and universities, and how to pay for your education with grants, scholarships and loans. You’ll even find an online vet nursing curriculum that you can use in obtaining your associate’s degree or certificate (depending on the program) in veterinary technology.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on veterinary nurse apprenticeship & veterinary nurse courses near me. Read on to learn more.

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How to become a vet nurse - PDSA

what does a veterinary nurse do

Veterinary nurses care for animals that are being treated in a veterinary practice. They also help to educate owners on how best to look after their pets.

Responsibilities of the job include:

  • administering drugs, anaesthetics and injections
  • preparing animals for surgery
  • holding and monitoring animals during operations
  • maintaining, sterilising and laying out surgical equipment
  • cleaning up after surgery
  • undertaking diagnostic tests
  • preparing and sending off laboratory samples
  • taking x-rays
  • caring for, exercising and grooming animal ‘in-patients’
  • giving advice to owners about caring for and breeding animals
  • keeping records
  • writing and filing reports

Typical employers of veterinary nurses

  • Private veterinary practices
  • Animal centres or hospitals
  • Zoos
  • Government organisations such as the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Animal welfare organisations and charities such as the RSPCA, Blue Cross and PDSA
  • Pharmaceuticals manufacturers

Vacancies are advertised online and in newspapers and specialist publications such as Veterinary Record. Voluntary work may be available with larger veterinary practices, animal boarding centres or organisations such as the RSPCA, PDSA, Cats Protection and Blue Cross.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into a veterinary nursing career for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need a degree in veterinary nursing, accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). For the entry onto the course, a minimum of two A levels ( preferably including biology and another science subject) or 240 UCAS points from two Scottish Advanced Highers or three Scottish Highers are required.

School leavers will need a level three diploma in veterinary nursing – also accredited by the RCVS – and must complete work placements at a veterinary practice that qualifies as an approved training centre. Five GCSEs at grades A*–C, or five Scottish Standards at grades one to three, are required. These must include English, maths and a science subject. A list of approved training providers and qualifications are available on the RCVS website.

Previous experience of working with animals, such as in a veterinary practice or an animal shelter, is advantageous.

Key skills for veterinary nurses

  • Caring
  • Responsible
  • Reliable
  • Good teamworking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Administrative skills
The anatomy of a veterinary nurse

veterinary nurse Requirements

To become a Veterinary Nurse you need to complete a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing ACM40412 as a minimum requirement. It’s important to be aware that a Certificate II in Animal Studies ACM20110 is a progression towards this objective; however, it does not have identifiable employment outcomes.

  1. Complete a Certificate II in Animal Studies (ACM20117), which includes both theoretical and practical training.
  2. Complete a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing ACM40412. Entry requirements vary between training institutions, but most require you have to completed a Certificate II in Animal Studies (ACM20117) or have some equivalent vocational training.
  3. To specialise and to extend your knowledge in the industry you can complete a Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (General Practice) ACM50512 or a Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (Emergency and Critical Care) ACM50412. Completion of these courses may open up career opportunities to support Specialist Veterinarians.

In addition to assisting with medical care, Veterinary Nurses provide vital information and support to pet owners and clients. They are also required to carry out a number of routine tasks including cleaning.Veterinary Nurse

Tasks and duties

  • Liaising with pet owners and clients on the level of care needed for optimum animal welfare.
  • Assisting in medical procedures by sterilising surgical equipment, administering drugs and injections, and holding and maintaining animals during operations.
  • Assisting in the day-to-day maintenance of the veterinary facilities by cleaning kennels and cleaning up after animals and surgeries.

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