Course Overview

This exciting, one-year course prepares you to work as a veterinary nursing assistant in a vet clinic.

In this job you'll work in a team environment assisting vets and vet nurses. You'll care for animal patients and assist with anaesthesia, surgery and preparation, and diagnostics.

There's lots of practical handling of the animals. Plus you'll undertake animal facility and vet clinic work.

You'll learn from qualified, practising vets and vet nurses in our facilities right here on campus. And you'll get to apply your learning in vet clinics out in the community.

Upon successfully completing the requirements you'll receive the award of:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Veterinary Nursing Assistant) (Level 5)
Locations To be confirmed
Next intake To be confirmed View more details
Study options

1 year full-time, including holidays (if applicable)

Total credits 120
StudyLink assistance Available
Indicative Fees $6,848 for domestic students View full fees information
Eligibility View entry criteria

To see the information for international students change your location using the button at the top right of the screen.

Career opportunities

Graduates usually aim to work as veterinary nursing assistants and are quickly snapped up by the vet clinics around the country. There are also plenty of other employment options in the animal industry like animal carers, sales representatives for veterinary products, and workers in retail and attractions business related to animals.

Graduates can also be self-employed, with a growing number of opportunities in animal care services.

Potential Employers

  • vet clinics
  • doggy daycare centres and pet sitters
  • pet shops
  • boarding kennels and catteries
  • animal welfare agencies
  • laboratories
  • animal control agencies
  • animal breeding facilities
  • animal parks
  • zoos
  • organisations involved in animal research

Topics you'll cover

During this intensive course you'll cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, animal welfare and legislation, animal handling, reception and administration, communication skills, sales, animal health and husbandry, self-management, teamwork and how to assist with routine procedures.

You'll also learn how to monitor animals under anaesthetic and nurse them through recovery, assist vets to conduct radiography, administer pharmaceutical drugs, prepare animals for domestic and international travel, and communicate advice to clients.

Topics covered:

  • husbandry and welfare of companion animals
  • veterinary clinic skills
  • anaesthesia and surgical veterinary nursing
  • client advice
  • animal welfare and management
  • hospitalised care for surgical and medical animal patients
  • diagnostics and imaging
  • practical animal husbandry welfare
  • practical clinical skills

With a host of animals here at our on-campus animal care facility, which includes fish, reptiles, sheep, horses, calves, birds, rabbits and rodents, plus kennels and cages for dogs and cats you'll have a regular obligation to care for a wide range of animals.

Work Experience

The course requires a minimum of 240 hours of work placement in animal facilities and veterinary clinics throughout the year while you study.

Course Fees

Indicative Fees * $6,848 for domestic students
Course related costs

Compulsory textbook ($350), other texts ($120), black pants and closed-in black flat shoes.

* Important fee information, and hints and tips

Help with fees

Are you Eligible for Free Fees?

There are several ways to take advantage of free study at Toi Ohomai. Find out how on our Fees Free FAQ page.

Student Loans and Allowances

This course meets the requirements for student allowance and student loan applications through StudyLink.

  • A student loan helps to pay for your course fees (the compulsory fees), study materials e.g. books, equipment, and living costs. You'll have to pay this money back.
  • A student allowance is a weekly payment that can help with your living expenses while you're studying. You don't have to pay the money back.

Find out more and apply at


Scholarships are one way you might be able to get some financial help. Any scholarships specifically related to this course are shown below, otherwise check out the full list of scholarships promoted by Toi Ohomai.

Course Entry Information

Entry criteria

You need to be 18 years of age at the start of the course in order to be accepted. This age requirement is endorsed by the New Zealand Veterinary Association and is a Health and Safety requirement and regulation for the use of radiology equipment.

Academic Entry

You must have completed:

  • 60 NCEA credits at Level 2, with a minimum of 12 NCEA English credits at Level 2, 12 credits in Mathematics at Level 1, and 12 credits of relevant Science at Level 1, OR
  • equivalent tertiary study.

Previous Experience

You should also demonstrate previous experience working with animals, and an aptitude for working with the public. Suitable experience includes:

  • three or more days observing in a veterinary clinic or equivalent. 
  • evidence of aptitude for working with the public which should include a reference from:
    • an employer where the prospective student has worked with the public (e.g. retail, volunteer, customer service), or
    • a teacher attesting to social and communication skills. 

Criminal History

You must also provide a Declaration Record of Criminal History when enrolling and read and sign an off-campus student learning contract.

Information Session

You’ll be invited to an information meeting. This is your opportunity to find out more about the course content and to make sure you're on the most appropriate course for your career aspirations and current level of experience.

Standard Entry Criteria

Admission, entry, selection, and enrolment into programmes will be in accordance with the Academic Regulations and/or, where approved, specific programme regulations.

Other Considerations

You're encouraged to be aware of your current health and tetanus status.

English language requirements

Level 5 certificate or diploma IELTS Academic score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5 or completed NZ Certificate in English Language Level 4 with the Academic Endorsement or meets a relevant English Proficiency Outcome as outlined by NZQA.

Return to course overview

Course Locations and Intake Information

Intakes to be confirmed Ask to be notified when the next intake becomes available

Study options

  • 1 year full-time, including holidays (if applicable)

Important dates

View calendar of start dates and events

Get a summary of this page

Further Study Options

Courses Currently Under Development at Toi Ohomai, or Offered at Other Institutions

  • New Zealand Certificate in Rural Animal Technology (Wintec or Otago)
  • New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Technology (Massey University)
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science