Advanced Certificate in Professional Veterinary Nursing

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Do you love the hands on of nursing cases more than anything else?

Our Advanced Certificate in Professional Veterinary Nursing is perfectly structured to enhance your knowledge in clinical nursing, from physical therapy to complex cases requiring intensive nursing. Start with learning about evidence based veterinary nursing and how to set clinical standards so you can actively make positive changes in your clinic. You’ll then learn advanced nursing procedures and care based on topics that you select from a range of available subjects.

A course like no other! This course places a large emphasis on developing your advanced clinical nursing skills, from designing nursing care and physical therapy plans to managing feeding tubes. Be your patients’ best advocate and wow the vets with your extensive skills and impressive knowledge.

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This course has been accredited for 20 points under the AVNAT Scheme.

Entry requirements:

To be eligible to enrol in this course, you must:

  • Have successfully completed a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing or equivalent (including overseas qualifications) or have significant clinical and surgical experience (more than 5 years).
  • Be employed in a veterinary practice for a minimum of 15 hrs a week that has a reasonable non-routine case load.
  • If you don’t have access to all the right equipment and cases to complete the course, work experience will be utilised to fill any gaps (additional fees for insurance apply).
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Advanced Certificate in Professional Veterinary Nursing

To achieve the Advanced Certificate in Professional Veterinary Nursing you will need to successfully gain 70 credit points. Each subject studied has allocated credit points, and you can mix and match electives to build your own course.

Your core subjects are:

  • Evidence Based Veterinary Nursing (10 credit points)
  • Setting Clinical Care Standards (10 credit points)

The elective units you can choose from are (50 points needed):

  • PHY Physical Therapy (5 credit points)
  • FLU Fluid Therapy (10 credit points)
  • ACCN Advanced Critical Care Nursing (10 credit points) Note: This subject is incompatible with ACNP & ECCN
  • PAI Pain Management (5 credit points)
  • WMDR Wound Management & Dressings (10 credit points)
  • SSA Scrubbed Surgical Assisting (5 credit points)
  • ORTH Orthopaedic Surgical Nursing (5 credit points)
  • AVIA Avian Nursing (5 credit points)
  • TOXI Toxicoses (5 points)
  • REPT Reptile Nursing (5 credit points)
  • RABB Rabbit & Rodent Nursing (5 credit points)

Currently in development and due for future released are:

  • WILD Wildlife Nursing (5 credit points)
  • NMCC Nursing Management in Clinical Cases (10 points)
  • ACNP Advanced Clinical Nursing Procedures (5 points)
  • ECCN Emergency & Critical Care Nursing (5 points)
  • ECPR Emergency Response & CPR (10 credit points)
  • SXPR Surgical Procedures (5 credit points) Note: This excludes orthopaedic procedures
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Enrolling is very simple!

  1. Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button below.
  2. Fill out the form, it will only take a couple of minutes. Have proof of employment and a copy of your Certificate IV ready.
  3. Once we assess your application and verify your eligibility, you will receive confirmation via email (allow a few days).
  4. You then accept the place offered and arrange payment, and get started!

Once your enrolment and payment has been processed, you will receive an email from us with all the information you need to access the portal, then your folders will arrive by overnight courier.

The course is delivered entirely by distance education using our online ‘Learning Centre.’
This allows you the flexibility to study when it suits you.

Frequently asked questions

The Diploma of Veterinary Nursing covers more than just clinical nursing. In the Diploma you will also cover team management, training staff, professional communication skills and animal behaviour.

It also requires that you have your current Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing (ACM40418). For those students who don’t, upgrading or obtaining the Certificate IV can be a costly process costing thousands. If you are more interested in gaining the knowledge and skill, then this course is for you.

Our entry requirements for the Advanced Certificate in Advanced Professional Nursing are more relaxed, as we want all nurses to have access to the best education available to become the most amazing nurse we know you can be.

We look at applications and process acceptance emails every day. We will start you off in your course within a week of receiving your enrolment and payment.

Each student studies differently.

Most students need to dedicate around 8-10 hours per week to their studies.

We’ll give you a suggested timetable to guide you through completing your studies within the 12 months allocated. If you need, you’re able to extend your course past this, but be aware a fee will apply.

Some students finish the course in under 12 months, you can too if you wish. The trick is time management. Put dedicated study time aside each week and it’s achievable.

The Advanced Certificate in Professional Veterinary Nursing is a ‘blended’ course. This means there is an online or distance component as well as a practical hands-on component in a veterinary clinic.

Our online student ‘Learning Centre’ along with our printed resources means you can study from where you like. Sunny day? Pop outside and study whilst watching the dogs play.

We’ll give you a timetable to help you structure your study plan. We recommend allowing dedicated time each week to ensure you stay on track, but it is self paced. So there is no stress of missing a deadline.

In the Learning Centre, you’ll find:

  • Learning activities to help you remember everything
  • Interactive learning modules
  • Videos showing you how to perform tasks
  • Recorded lectures to learn even more
  • Links to upload your assessments.

In your printed resources, you’ll find all the reading material and references you need to successfully pass the course and become an amazing veterinary nurse.

We also run optional workshops around the country, where you can get more practice and experience. Boost your resume and learn more towards your qualification at the same time.

Our Advanced Certificate of Professional Veterinary Nursing is made up of a series of subjects designed to teach you everything you need to know to be successful.

You’ll still be required to undertake your own research for some assessments. However, we’ll guide you through what you need to know via ‘knowledge checklists,’ set textbooks, and structured self-assessment tasks to ensure you have the required knowledge before completing any exams or assessments.

Assessments are not only about assessing you, they are a valuable learning tool. As you complete them, you’ll learn more than just going through the reading materials alone.

We use a range of assessment types and match these to what is the best way to capture your new skills and knowledge.

Written Assessments

Every subject has some form of written assessment. We use short answer questions, scenarios and short case studies about the patients you nursed in your clinical placement.

Our Nurse Educators will provide thorough feedback on your assessments, including hints and tips and further learning opportunities. Anytime you need help with an assessment, you just contact the Nurse Educators through our Student Assist options.

Clinical Skills Assessment

Veterinary Nursing is a practical job, so we must assess your clinical skills.

In the clinic, you’ll be recording your participation in various tasks and nursing care through short forms called Key Skills. These showcase what you’ve been learning in the clinic and will be ‘signed off’ by your Clinical Mentor. You’ll also complete some case diaries, with photos of you performing skills and short descriptions.

Lastly, to ensure you graduate with the quality expected of ACVN Nurses, you’ll also submit some short videos of you performing vet nursing tasks. Again, Nurse Educators will provide thorough feedback on your learning and skills. Don’t be daunted by video assessment, they are a relaxed form of assessment. We love it when students leave in their bloopers. We provide full instructions. Some can be done at home to free up clinic time for more learning.

Alternatively, we can send in a Nurse Educator to perform a workplace assessment. This option does attract extra fees and you may need multiple visits across the course. Unlike video assessments where you can restart and try again if something doesn’t go to plan, your workplace assessment is a final assessment. Many students find video assessment less daunting than having a Nurse Educator watching their every move in clinic.

This course is designed for nurses working in a clinic looking to develop their skills further. You need access to patients and equipment to complete this course, so it’s not generally suitable for people not in a clinic. However if you have a unique situation, please ensure you contact us to discuss.

We’re about veterinary nursing. Full stop. We live and breathe it.

For us, training veterinary nurses is not just about money. It’s how we can ensure best practice nursing care for animals everywhere. We’re here for the animals.

At ACVN, you have a name not a student number. We get to know all our students really well and love sharing in your achievements.

We care about you and your career. We want you to be job ready, employable and enjoying a long career in veterinary nursing. Some of our graduates love us so much, they’ve come to work for us.

Our student to educator ratio is the envy of many colleges. Because of this, your assessments are marked quickly and the feedback you receive is specific to you and designed to help you learn.The Nurse Educators are available to help you when you need it.

At our college, you’ll be a part of a group of students who are considered amongst the best in the country.

Yes! We absolutely welcome overseas students, as long as you are remaining in your home country. If you wish to come to Australia to study, you’ll need to find a CRICOS registered provider. These are the only institutions approved for international student visas.

We have had students in many countries including America, Canada, Singapore, Japan, China, Portugal, Cyprus and South Africa, just to name a few.

Please check out our Overseas Student Information page for more details.

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We’re here for you, for your entire course and beyond graduation. Once you graduate with us, you become an ACVN Nurse. The most trusted veterinary nurses out there.

Once you enrol, we’ve made it very easy to get help.

As a student, you’re our number one priority. It’s why we’re here.

Student Assist is our student support program and it’s manned by Nurse Educators. This means if you need help – you’ll get it quickly. You won’t have to wait days or weeks for an educator to help you.

We can help you understand something that you’re not sure about, help you find things, give you motivational support, help with an assessment or feedback. Basically anything you need course wise, we can help you with.


Student Assist has dedicated phone lines that go straight through to the Nurse Educators. You can call for help on weekdays between 8am and 5pm.


Send us an email any time to the dedicated student support email, and we’ll answer it when we’re in the office. We check this email several times throughout the day, so most emails are replied to in under 24 hours. Weekends we even pop in to check for urgent problems.

Live Chat

Perhaps you have a super fast question and don’t want to call? We have Live Chat! This is like an instant messenger service where you can type your questions and we can reply in real time during business hours.


If social media is part of your life, we have an active student Facebook group for you. It’s exclusive to our current students and grads. Our Nurse Educators are also in there and are known to answer questions at all times of the day or night.

No, the Advanced Certificate in Professional Veterinary Nursing is a non-accredited professional development course. This does not mean it is a lower quality than accredited courses, it just means it does not have to follow the set training package like the Cert IV or Diploma does.

Unfortunately there is no government funding or assistance for this course as it is a non-accredited professional development course.

You must undertake the 2 core subjects, however your electives can be chosen when you first start. If you change your mind on a subject before starting it, there is a replacement fee for a new learner’s guide to be sent out for a different subject.

What will I study in the ACPVN?

Our course is divided into two main sections:

1. Core Units

These set you up for the remainder of the course, and give you 20 of the required 70 units credits.

Evidence-based veterinary nursing (EBVN) integrates scientific research with clinical expertise to make informed decisions in veterinary practice. It involves understanding what evidence-based veterinary medicine is, recognising various types of evidence and their sources, and asking precise clinical questions. The process includes acquiring and critically appraising evidence, applying the findings to clinical practice, and assessing the outcomes. Literature reviews play a crucial role in summarising existing research, guiding veterinary nurses in making evidence-based decisions to improve patient care.

Setting clinical care standards involves establishing benchmarks for patient care to ensure high-quality veterinary services. This subject covers defining clinical care standards and conducting clinical audits to assess compliance and performance. Developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and clinical guidelines ensures consistency in care and are explained. Implementing policies, procedures, and guidelines effectively translates these standards into daily practice, promoting optimal patient outcomes and enhancing the overall quality of veterinary care.

2. Advanced Clinical Nursing Subjects

Pick the subjects that suit you. You’ll need to complete 50 credit points (it’s ok if one of your subjects pops you a little over).

Pain Management icon

Indepth analgesia knowledge and the ability to recognise pain is vital in so many different aspects of veterinary nursing. This subject will teach students about the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, pain pathways, and the drugs we use to control pain. It will look at recognising pain and pain scoring, and alternative methods of controlling pain in our patients including nursing interventions.

Physical therapy is an essential part of the post op recovery period and an area of care where nurses can be actively involved. Providing physical therapy is a great way to improve owner compliance with post op care, and allow regular contact with the clinic to monitor the patient’s progress. This subject will prepare students to discuss physical therapy with clients, devise routines they can follow, and recognise when to refer to a Veterinary Physiotherapist. It also covers techniques they can implement in clinic to help speed up the recovery of the post op patient. This subject will also teach students about the various muscles and muscle groups.

Fluid therapy is an integral part of the modern veterinary clinic. This subject will teach students about the various types of fluids available, their indications and contraindications and how to monitor patients receiving fluid therapy. Students will also learn about osmosis, and how to correctly calculate fluid rates and influencing factors on fluid rates.

You’ll learn more advanced nursing skills such as how to map out patient care plans and specific nursing interventions for individual patients. Students also learn about correct urinary catheter care and physiology and anatomy of the urinary system itself. Feeding tube maintenance is also covered along with managing recumbent patients, neonates, blood transfusions, and the provision of oxygen therapy.

Wound Management is an area that nurses can be actively involved in. This subject starts off with learning about the integument system; it then branches into the physiology of wound healing. Students will learn about different dressings and bandages (both techniques and materials), which to use when, and how to decide on a wound care plan in conjunction with the veterinarian.

This subject provides you with a comprehensive understanding of various toxic agents and their effects on animals. It begins with the general principles of toxicology, followed by detailed exploration of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs, rodenticides, and molluscicides. The curriculum covers specific envenomations such as paralysis ticks and snake bites, and includes common toxicants like chocolate, household toxins, and plant-based toxins. Additionally, it addresses other animal toxicities and bites, equipping veterinary nurses with the knowledge to help vets identify, manage, and treat a wide range of toxic exposures in clinical settings.

This subject covers a range of essential topics for assisting veterinarians with managing musculoskeletal issues in animals. It begins with understanding orthopaedic instrumentation and fracture classifications. The curriculum includes the implants and techniques for internal and external fixation available to the vet. It covers specific procedures such as stifle surgeries, bone grafting, and the approaches to amputation and limb-sparing. The study also explores joint diseases and arthrodesis, methods for correcting orthopaedic abnormalities, and the use of arthroscopy. The focus is on understanding the procedures, allowing you to better assist the vet during the procedure, and the patient in the recovery period.

Assisting with surgery starts with the preparation of the surgical team, ensuring that all members are ready and equipped for the procedure. Providing effective surgical assistance is crucial, requiring knowledge of various roles and responsibilities during surgery. The curriculum includes an understanding of suture materials, needles, and staples, along with different suture patterns and knots. These skills enable veterinary nurses to support surgeons effectively, contributing to efficient and safe surgical practices.

Students begin by learning about various avian species and basic avian anatomy, followed by essential aspects of housing and husbandry. The curriculum covers bird behaviour and enrichment, general healthcare, and nutrition. It also includes important topics such as transport and handling, housing in a veterinary clinic, and conducting physical examinations. You will learn about common diseases and emergency situations, maintenance procedures, and about administering anaesthesia and analgesia. Additional topics include nursing interventions, radiography, fluid therapy, clinical pathology, and managing emergent conditions, first aid, and end-of-life care, ensuring well-rounded knowledge in avian nursing.



Expand your nursing talents!


Don’t miss out on this deal!

Pay in full and receive $400 off!

Starting from*:



* Price depends on your choice of elective units.


interest free payment plan

Start your studies with a first instalment of

Then spread the payments, as it suits you, over a 10-month period.

For example:
10 x $304.50/month or
20 x $152.25/fortnight

That’s just over $76/week.

Starting from*:


* Price depends on your choice of elective units.


Important notes:

  1. Graduates of other ACVN programs may receive a lower course fee due to internal credits for subjects already studied.
  2. Prices include resource fees, tuition, and administration fees.
  3. Additional fees may apply if you do not pass a subject, you need to re-enrol in a subject for any reason, or you extend your enrolment period
  4. Prices current from 15th May 2024.
  5. Payment in Full Discount does not apply to international students. Instead we will cover bank transfer fees at our end, and send out your learner’s guides via international express post at no additional charge.
  6. For EU and UK residents only: Prices displayed on this page do NOT include VAT. VAT will be calculated based on your country of residence at enrolment time.

Notes on Payment Plans:

  1. Even if you have completed your studies, you’ll not receive your certificate until you’ve paid for your course in full.
  2. You are also responsible for paying the entire course cost, even if you decide to not complete the full course.
  3. Instalments will start from the month your course commences. Payments are by direct debit or credit card only, and to make your life easier, you can elect the day the automatic payment is debited from your account.
  4. If you fall behind in your instalments by more than 14 days without arranging an alternative payment, you may be withdrawn from the course. So it’s important to contact us if you are struggling.
  5. International students are not eligible for instalment plans.

Our students are raving about our courses!

I liked that I didn’t have to move away from the country to study and the ACVN Nurse Educators are so helpful and encouraging.

Jill Van Bommel / Finley, New South Wales

The staff are all so knowledgeable and really bring out the best in their students. The response rate for assessment is also fantastic!

Kelly Powell / Arana Hills, Queensland

I’ve been a vet nurse for over 12 years and it’s pretty much my life! When it came to studying for my Diplomas, I didn’t want to do them somewhere that would be easy. I wanted to study them somewhere that would challenge me and add to my knowledge and skillset.

ACVN trains me to be a truly good veterinary nurse.

Rhonda Ponder / Central Coast, New South Wales

I enrolled with ACVN to upgrade my Certificate IV and study for my Surgical Diploma. I have really enjoyed the in depth learning. The learners’ guides are easy to read and the educators are always available to help with any questions I have. I often find the educators go the extra mile to help and many of them work afterhours on the student Facebook group too.

Naomi Bosveld / Singapore


You don’t need to be living in Australia to study with us. We welcome students from all over the world! You have the same student benefits as a local student, and we don’t charge you huge fees for being overseas. There are however, some considerations you need to factor in before enrolling with us. Please read the Overseas Student Information by clicking the button below.

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A group of pets: 3 cats, a rabbit and a great dane