ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal CARE

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  • Intakes start monthly, beginning on the first Monday. 
  • Enrolments close on the 15th day of the month prior unless filled early.
  • Places are limited each month. If an intake is full, you’ll automatically be placed in the next available intake.

  • *NEW* Immediate Course Start: Pay your tution in full and start your studies the following business day! No waiting for the next intake.
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The perfect launching pad to a great career

If you’re just starting out on your dream of working with animals, our ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care has been specifically designed to give you the skills and knowledge you need to care for a range of companion animals in a veterinary clinic. You’ll learn the foundations of good veterinary nursing skills, combined with some general animal care studies, making you employable as a veterinary assistant.

This course is entry level and designed for students still at school, recent school leavers and those who are unsure  of which animal care career they want to follow.

If vet nursing is definitely your passion, we recommend undertaking the ACM30122 Certificate III in Animal Care Services, which is aligns more with the ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing and designed to make you stand out from the crowd of applicants for junior nurse positions. 

The ACM30122 Certificate III in Animal Care Services also has more credits towards the ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, than the ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care does, so you can get ahead on becoming a qualified Veterinary Nurse. Either way, both qualifications meet the entry requirements for the ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

The ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care is your stepping-stone to many great animal care related qualifications apart from veterinary nursing, enabling you to work in pet shops, grooming, boarding kennels or even doggy day care centres. It is also perfect if you are unsure which animal care career will suit you, as you will get a little bit of everything throughout your course.

Please note: you’ll need to allow time for 15 – 20 days of work experience to cover the practical skills needed to complete this course. The first placement can occur at a shelter, boarding facility, grooming facility, or day care facility. The second placement (10 days) must be undertaken at a veterinary clinic to ensure you are mastering the right nursing skills that this course requires.

This ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care is offered by UQ Skills (RTO 1511) with the expert training, assessment, recruitment and support services provided by ACVN.

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Direct entry available!

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

  • Be at least 17 years of age
  • Have successfully completed Year 10, or equivalent
  • Be able to undertake work experience placements at an animal care facility and veterinary clinic
  • Many students choose to volunteer at animal shelters, RSPCA etc to learn some of the practical skills they need.
  • Have access to computers and internet as content and assessments are online.

Please note:
You’ll need to allow time for 15 – 20 days of work experience to cover the practical skills needed to complete this course. The first placement can occur at a shelter, boarding facility, grooming facility, or day care facility. The second placement (10 days) must be undertaken at a veterinary clinic to ensure you are mastering the right nursing skills that this course requires.

ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care

To gain the ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care, you are required to complete 12 units of competency.

Seven of these are compulsory core units, and the other five are set electives. You cannot change these electives, as these are necessary to undertake the Veterinary Nursing focus built into this course.

The units of competency that make up the ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care are:


  • ACMGEN201 Work in the animal care industry
  • ACMGEN202 Complete animal care hygiene routines
  • ACMGEN203 Feed and water animals
  • ACMGEN204 Assist in health care of animals
  • ACMSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMWHS201 Participate in workplace health and safety processes
  • BSBCMM211 Apply communication skills

Set Electives:

  • ACMBEH302 Provide enrichment for animals
  • ACMGEN205 Source and provide information on animal care needs
  • ACMGEN309 Provide basic animal first aid 
  • ACMINF301 Comply with infection control policies and procedures in animal care work
  • BSBXTW301 Work in a team
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Enrolling is very simple!

  1. Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button below.
  2. Fill out the form.
  3. Check your email account for the enrolment package. We’ll email your acceptance email within 1 to 2 business days.
  4. Fill out the enrolment and payment forms, and post or email it back in to us.

Once your enrolment and payment has been processed, you will receive an email from us with all the information you need to access the Learning Centre.

Once you have completed student induction, we’ll send out your Learner’s Resources.

Nationally Recognised Training

This qualification is delivered by ACVN on behalf of the University of Queensland, trading as UQ Skills, RTO ID: 1511. UQ Skills is the Principal RTO and this course is on the UQ Skills scope of registration, as documented through a written third party agreement. For more information refer to the FAQ.

Frequently asked questions

The course is delivered entirely by distance education using our online ‘Learning Centre’ with printed learner’s guides.

This allows you the flexibility to study when it suits your schedule. You won’t need to attend any on-campus classes. We’ve designed the course to fit around your work and lifestyle.

Once the course starts, you’ll receive printed learner’s guides, which will guide you through your studies and prepare you for assessments. You will also need to purchase a veterinary nursing textbook (allow around $130). You’ll also have access to the extra study resources available via our ‘Learning Centre’ online.

Each subject contains various assessment tasks:

  • Expect to complete written assessments like assignments, case studies, and reports.
  • We include multiple choice learning activities so you can check your own learning throughout the course.
  • Workplace-based assessments for practical skills will be completed during your Work Placements and involve some practical assessments with a Nurse Educator. We provide comprehensive instructions on what to include, so don’t feel stressed about having to these performing tasks. We offer both live assessments (via Zoom) and video assessments. In person assessment can also be arrange but may attract extra fees for travel expenses.
  • On average, expect to submit at least one learning activity task each week to stay on track, and one major assessment per month.

We’ve designed this course to be completed in 12 months. You’ll have suggested due dates for each subject to help keep you on track. We find most students need to dedicate at least 8 hours per week to study, undertaking the required reading and completing the assessment tasks.

Of course, you can complete the course more quickly if you wish. Additional fees apply if you want to extend your study time past 12 months.

You will be given 12 months to complete your course, and you’ll have suggested due dates for each subject to help keep you on track. If you need more time, that’s ok! Arranging an enrolment extension is easy, however be aware that it attracts a fee. You’ll be able to extend your course for up to another 12 months.

Two work placements are an integral feature of this course. They build up your practical skills and are an essential part of your learning.

You’ll usually do these placements in two-week blocks at an animal care facility and veterinary clinic near you.

Some students may require additional days of work experience to complete the skills component of the course. We can arrange for this at no extra charge.

For those who need more flexibility, placements can be broken up into smaller, regular chunks as long as you complete a minimum of 15-20 full time days over the duration of the course (e.g. 1 day per week or 4 x 1 week blocks). During your placement, you are fully covered by The University of Queensland (Gatton Campus) insurance.

You are required to find your own placements, however we’ll assist where we can. We provide you with all the tools you need to help find a suitable clinic, as well as assistance with writing cover letters and resumes. Finding placement is much like finding a job, you need to present yourself well!

Yes! We welcome offshore international students. That is, those who do not reside in Australia or are not planning on studying from within Australia.

As an international offshore student, payment plans are not available. You will be required to pay the full course fee prior to starting. We also do not offer the pay in full discount to international offshore students however we do not charge you extra for resources to be sent to you, or for bank fees.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you can legally perform the practical tasks required in your country. In some countries, like the UK, it is illegal for a non-qualified person to perform some of the practical skills necessary to complete the course. Check with your local veterinary surgeons’ board.

If you are completing placement, you will also need to arrange your own insurance and provide evidence of this to us.

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Ready to learn more? After you’ve completed this course you can move on to:

Unfortunately, government funding is not currently available for this course. If this changes, we will advertise it on our site.

You can, however, enrol with one of our instalment plans.

We do encourage you to contact your local job seeker service or apprenticeship centre for further suggestions.

Veterinary Nurse Solutions, trading as the Australian College of Veterinary Nursing (‘ACVN’), has a third party arrangement with UQ Skills which is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). UQ Skills is a business within the University of Queensland under the Faculty Science. In this arrangement, UQ Skills is the ‘Principal RTO’.

For more information about our third party partner UQ Skills, go to:

At all times, the Principal RTO is responsible for the quality of the training and assessment you will receive in compliance with Standards for RTOs 2015, and for the issuance of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) certification documentation. These Standards set out the requirements that an organisation must meet in order to be an RTO and ensure the integrity and quality of nationally recognised training provided by registered training organisations.

What does this mean for students?

Who are students enrolled with?

Students are enrolled with UQ Skills as the principal RTO.

Who do students do training and assessment with?

All training is conducted by ACVN on behalf of UQ Skills, the principal RTO. All learning and assessment materials are developed by ACVN and approved by UQ Skills.

Who do the trainers and assessors work for?

All trainers and assessors are employed by ACVN, but are approved by UQ Skills.

What if a student needs to make a complaint?

In the first instance you can provide feedback and make a complaint directly to us, ACVN at You are also able to make a complaint or provide feedback directly to the Principal RTO, UQ Skills directly, at:

Who issues qualifications and statements of attainment?

On successful completion of all course requirements students are provided with the appropriate qualifications and statements of attainment issued by the Principal RTO, The University of Queensland, trading as UQ Skills, RTO ID: 1511.

What if a student needs to have a qualifications or statement of attainment reissued?

Students can contact either ACVN and we can assist you to organise this. You are also able to directly contact UQ Skills to obtain a new copy of a certificate.

Not sure which course is right for you?

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What will I study in the ACM20121

Working With Animals

This subject introduces you to the different career paths for veterinary nurses and other animal care workers, workplace reporting, policies and procedures, and the handling and restraint of the animals under our care.

Health and Safety Icon

Health and safety are vital aspects of working in any animal care workplace. We’ll introduce you to Work Health and Safety legislation and how it applies to employees, the basics of risk management and controls, how to deal with sharps, allergies, noise, dangerous chemicals and drugs, fire safety and emergencies, biological hazards and zoonoses. Then we’ll finish off with a closer look at animal hazards and manual handling when it comes to animal care workplaces and how you can minimise risks.

Sourcing correct information is the mainstay of not only your study, but working as a veterinary nurse. This subject will take you through how to locate and evaluate sources of information on animal care products and services and medications.

Veterinary Nurses are required to communicate with a range of people from colleagues to clients. You’ll learn how to adjust your communication techniques to match your audience, including switching between medical terminology and client friendly explanations.

Providing enrichment is essential for animal welfare. This subject looks at the methods we can use for many species to enrich their environment and life. You’ll complete your own enrichment plans as part of your assessment.

Sustainable Work Practices icon

This short subject looks at the resources we use each day and how to minimise the impact we have on the environment. Students undertake an ‘audit’ of an animal workplace to see what resources are used and how waste reducing measures could be implemented. This subject is included as part of government requirements and aims to increase awareness of sustainable work practices.

First Aid for Animals icon

This subject will introduce you to what to do in an emergency situation when you come across an ill or injured companion animal. You will learn about keeping yourself, others and the animal safe whilst administering basic first aid. We also cover initial first aid steps, how to safely transport to a vet clinic, and when you must contact a vet for further advice and treatment.

Practical Infection Control icon

Infection control is extremely important in any veterinary clinic and this subject is structured to help you with understanding both basic and advanced precautions that are necessary to keep you and your patients safe from transmissible diseases.

Animal Care Basics icon

This subject will take you through the foundations of animal husbandry – from food to bedding, exercising, taking vital signs, recording observations and knowing when to alert the vet are all skills that form the basis of good nursing. This subject goes into detail on how to really look after animals well, providing nursing interventions where necessary, and looking at the animal as a whole – not just ticking off a box that a treatment has been given.

work placement icon

To successfully complete this course you are required to complete two work experience placements. Placement one can be at any approved animal care facility that houses companion animals overnight. For example animal shelters and boarding facilities as well as vet clinics. This placement must be a minimum of 5 days, however we recommend 10 days. Placement two must be at a veterinary clinic so you can learn about basic nursing duties. We advise talking to clinics in your local area prior to enrolling to see if they will take on students and what their requirements are. We will cover you with insurance whilst on placement.

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Veterinary Nursing.
It’s all we do.
Why would you study anywhere else?

Nationally Recognised Training

This qualification is delivered by ACVN on behalf of the University of Queensland, trading as UQ Skills, RTO ID: 1511. UQ Skills is the Principal RTO and this course is on the UQ Skills scope of registration, as documented through a written third party agreement. For more information refer to the FAQ.

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start with some savings and no waiting time!

Don’t miss out on this deal!

Pay in full to:

  • receive $800 off!
  • skip the line and not wait for the next intake!




interest free payment plan

Start your studies at our next intake with a first instalment of $500

Then simply pay
11 x $480/month or
22 x $240/fortnight.

That’s an affordable $120/week.



Important notes:

  1. Please budget around $130 for additional textbooks.
  2. Prices current from 15th May 2024.
  3. All prices include resource fees, tuition, and administration fees.
  4. When paying in full your start date will be the following business day.
  5. 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. Please refer to the student handbook for details on other fees that may be applicable.
  6. Payment in full discount does not apply to international students. Instead we will cover bank transfer fees at our end, and send out the learner’s guides via international express post at no additional charge.
  7. 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. When you choose to enrol with an interest free payment plan, your studies will start at the next available intake.
  4. Instalments will start from the month your course commences. Payments are by direct debit or credit card only.
  5. 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.
  6. International students are not eligible for instalment plans.

We work hard to ensure our graduates are the first choice for every Veterinary Nurse vacancy!

Our students are raving about our courses!

The thought of doing something meaningful with my life that would benefit others is what drew me to the veterinary industry. I like the fact that ACVN allows me to work at my own pace, it means I can balance part time work and travel with my studies. I also love how friendly and helpful the ACVN staff are, they make the stress of studying a little easier.

Kate Paterson / Stellenbosch, South Africa

I’ve always wanted to work with animals but I thought that there was no way I was going to do anything Veterinary related online! But then I found ACVN and I began to follow my dream career path. The course and support are amazing. Everything about ACVN is amazing, and more! Being a vet nurse and helping animals is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Jess Steyn / Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

The ACVN Nurse Educators are second to none. Where else could you ask a question on Facebook at 10pm at night and have a real Nurse Educator answer?

Jane Bracken / Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
veterinary nursing

I am currently employed as a veterinary nurse in a large purpose build veterinary hospital. Without my studies with ACVN I’d be lost as to where I want to be in my career.

Brooke McKenzie / North Brisbane


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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