Vet Nursing Career Pathways – It’s more than just a job!

Starting out.

Veterinary Assistant, Kennel Hand, Ward Assistant

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Whatever your title is, this is where most Veterinary Nurses start their career. You’ll undertake tasks such as cleaning cages and the clinic, walking and feeding hospitalised pets and assisting nurses and Vets with procedures – all valid skills for your vet nursing career. You may also get to medicate and perform simple physical examinations under the watchful eye of veterinary staff. A Certificate II in Animal Studies is the minimum qualification necessary for entering the industry – but you can start with the Cert III if you prefer and get a good head start on your Cert IV.

Getting more experience.

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This is our recommended starting place if you want vet nursing to be your career. This course covers almost the first 12 months of Cert IV – giving you a head start! If you’ve previously completed a Cert II in Animal Studies and are still looking for employment, enrolling in and completing the Cert III in Animal Studies will expand your veterinary nursing knowledge. Learning more skills makes you more employable.

Becoming a Veterinary Nurse.

Student Veterinary Nurse

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So you’ve got a position in a clinic that is encouraging you to become a fully-fledged Veterinary Nurse. It’s time to enrol in the Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing!

As you progress through your training, you’ll be required to undertake more and more tasks that qualified nurses do every day, mostly under supervision of qualified Vet Nurses and Vets. This course will equip you with everything you need to succeed.

Qualified Veterinary Nurse

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Congratulations! After graduating with Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing, you can now call yourself a qualified Veterinary Nurse. To continue rising to the top of your profession you’ll need to undertake continuing education and seminars to keep your skills and knowledge up to date with the latest advancements.  You’ll also learn on a daily basis from the Nurses and Vets you work with – they’re a font of information about what’s happening in the world of veterinary care.

Furthering your Career.

Accredited Veterinary Nurse

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Qualified nurses who complete a special accreditation program run by the Australian Veterinary Association and Veterinary Nurses’ Council of Australia are known as Accredited Veterinary Nurses. Applicants to this special status must have at least 12 months experience post-graduation, and prove their dedication to the profession by undertaking continuing education, writing articles and educational case studies.

Head Vet Nurse, Nursing Manager

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Demonstrate great leadership skills, dedication to continued learning and educating others as well as the required qualifications and knowledge, and you can progress to a higher position within the clinic such as a Nursing Manager or Head Nurse. The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (General Practice) is the qualification designed for senior nurses. Our course lets you advance both your clinical skills and your management skills.

You’ll then take on extra responsibilities, such as stock control, rostering, and training new staff members.

Specialise in your field.

Diploma Veterinary Nurse

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After you’ve completed your Cert IV and have at least 12 months experience as a Vet Nurse, you can specialise in the field that interests you most.  The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing will give you advanced skills in surgical nursing, emergency and critical care, or dental nursing. The general practice stream is ideal for those wishing to manage teams of nurses in normal veterinary clinics.

Note: There are restrictions on the type of clinic you can work in while studying for your Diploma – you need a relevant caseload to your chosen specialty and patients that allow you to complete the assessment tasks required.

Getting down to the business end.

Practice Manager

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It’s not necessary to be a Vet Nurse to become a practice manager, but if you find the business side of Veterinary Practice more your style this is a rewarding career path.

As a Practice Manager you’ll be responsible for running the day-to-day business of the clinic – things like hiring and firing staff, preparing financial reports and budgets, and other key tasks essential for clinics to thrive as a business.

There are several practice management qualifications out there that can help train you for this kind of position.

An exciting range of career options.

The qualifications available to you as a Veterinary Nurse are wide and varied. Each will improve your skills, knowledge and employability. Specific qualifications can also open doors to other, related careers, including:

  • Zookeeper
  • Industry sales representative
  • Dog trainer
  • Animal welfare officer
  • Pathology/laboratory assistant.

At The Australian College of Veterinary Nursing, we’re here to support you with expert training at every stage of your Vet Nurse career.

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