Certificate II in Animal Studies

(Veterinary Assisting)

The perfect launching pad to a great career

kitten looking at puppy with stethoscope in mouth

If you’re just starting out on your dream of working with animals, the ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies is specifically designed to give you the skills and knowledge you need to care for a range of companion animals and work in a veterinary clinic as an assistant. Our ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies (Veterinary Assisting) has been designed to enable you to learn basic veterinary nursing skills to enter the veterinary industry, combined with some general animal care studies.

This course is entry level and designed for students still at school, recent school leavers and those who are unsure if veterinary nursing is for them. If vet nursing is definitely your passion, please look at undertaking our ACM30117 Certificate III in Animal Studies (Veterinary Nursing), which is 100% Veterinary Nurse focused and designed to make you stand out from the crowd when applying for junior nurse positions. Our ACM30117 Certificate III in Animal Studies also has more credits towards the ACM40412 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, than the ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies does, so you can get ahead on becoming a qualified Veterinary Nurse.

The ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies 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 for combining with your high school study where your school allows you to undertake a Certificate II as part of your certificate of education, or if you are unsure which animal care career will suit you, as you will get a little bit of everything throughout your course.

If you are after a course with a more general animal care focus we deliver a non-veterinary nursing version through our sister college – the Australian College of Animal Care. Don’t stress, you still have all the same benefits and support as studying through us.

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 or any approved workplace that houses companion animals overnight. 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.

Nationally Recognised Training

This certificate is delivered in conjunction with Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (RTO31258)

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What will I study in the ACM20117

Introduction to Veterinary Nursing as a Career
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Discover what’s involved in working in the veterinary industry from the ground up. We’ll cover the career pathway for veterinary nurses then branch out into basic animal identification and profiles, terminology, work schedules and prioritising tasks, locating information on animal care, and Animal Welfare legislation. You’ll also need to do some research on veterinary nursing, including career pathways, general job overview, and typical employment conditions (e.g. awards and hours worked).

Animal Restraint & Transport
Animal Handling Techniques

Animal Restraint & Transport is a whole subject devoted to the correct handling and restraint of the animals in our care. Although a large focus is on dogs and cats, rabbits, you’ll also learn about guinea pigs, birds and wildlife. Providing safe and low stress animal handling is a vital skill for any Veterinary Nurse.

Health & Safety in the Vet Clinic
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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.

Reception & Office Duties icon

Veterinary Nurses are required 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. You’ll also learn about customer service skills and how to deal with difficult situations.

Basic First Aid for Animals
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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.

Nursing the Veterinary Patient
Animal Care Basics icon

Patients are often kept in hospital and knowing how to look after them 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 your patients well, providing nursing interventions where necessary, and looking at the patient as a whole – not just ticking off a box that a treatment has been given.

Infection Control in the Veterinary Clinic
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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.

Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices
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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.

Work Experience Placements
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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.

start your career

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start your studies with some savings!

Don’t miss out on this deal!

Pay in full and receive $500 off!




interest free payment plan

Enrol now with a first instalment of $495

Then simply pay 10 x $290/month

or $145/fortnight for 20 fortnights




Additional Information on the ACM20117


Direct entry available!

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

  • Have successfully completed Year 10, or equivalent
  • Over 16 years of age
  • 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 regular access to computers and internet to complete the online component.
The Enrolment Process

Enrolling is very simple!

  1. Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button below.
  2. Fill out the form, and we’ll review your application.
  3. Check your email account for the enrolment package immediately sent to you (it might go to spam so ensure you check there too).
  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. Your learning material folders will arrive by overnight courier after you’ve completed your Student Induction module.

Course Price

Pay in Full and save $500! Pay only $2895!

Need Instalments? Enrol now with a first instalment of $495. Then simply pay $290 per month for 10 months.

You’ll have suggested due dates for each subject to help keep you on track and you must finish the course within 12 months to avoid any course extension fees.

Important notes on Instalment 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 from a credit card or Australia bank account only, and to make your life easier, you can elect to pay monthly or fortnightly.
  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.


Government Funding

Is there government funding for this course?

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.

Course Dates

We accept new students every day of the week!

  • No waiting for a semester to start. Enrol now to get your career moving.
  • You can secure your place by enrolling and sending us your first payment. You’ll receive your online access and printed learner’s guides in around a week!
  • You will be given 12 months to complete your course, and if you need more time, that’s ok! Arranging an enrolment extension is easy, however be aware that it attracts a fee.
Units of Competency

ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies

For this qualification to be awarded, you must complete 12 units of competency. Eight of these are core units, and the remaining four are electives. Your electives are set within our course structure and cannot be changed.

The core units you will cover within your subjects are:

  • ACMGAS201 Work in the animal care industry
  • ACMOHS201 Participate in occupational health & safety processes
  • ACMGAS203 Complete Animal care Hygiene Routines
  • ACMSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMGAS202 Participate in workplace communications
  • ACMGAS205 Assist in the health care of animals
  • ACMGAS204 Feed & Water Animals
  • ACMGAS206 Provide basic first aid for animals

Your electives are:

  • ACMGAS208 Source information for animal care needs
  • ACMGAS308 Communicate effectively with clients and team members
  • ACMINF301 Comply with infection control policies and procedures in animal care work
  • ACMCAS304 Capture, handle and transport companion animals

We’ve designed this course to be completed in 12 months. We find most students need to dedicate at least 5 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.

The course is delivered entirely by distance education using our online ‘Learning Centre’.

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 video assessments and a logbook. We provide comprehensive instructions on what to include, so don’t feel stressed about having to video yourself performing tasks.
  • On average, expect to submit one short assessment or learning activity task each week to stay on track. Larger assessment tasks are required towards the end of the course.

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 Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges’ insurance.

You are required to find you 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!

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

Unfortunately , overnment 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.

Yes! We welcome international students!

As an international student, instalment 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 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.


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.

Learn more
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