New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) (Level 3)

Learn how to care for a range of animals such as cats, dogs and rabbits. Gain work experience in an animal care facility. Develop knowledge and skills for the industry: animal handling techniques, health and husbandry, hygiene and more.

What you will learn

AC3001 Animal Welfare and Hygiene:

To enable students to demonstrate understanding of:

  • animal welfare legislation, and codes of practice for companion animals
  • ethical principles and cultural perspectives related to working with animals
  • animal facility and environmental hygiene, and zoonoses.
AC3002 Animal Health and Behaviour:

To enable students to demonstrate and apply knowledge of companion animal health and behaviour in routine and emergency situations in an animal facility.

AC3003 Animal Handling:

To enable students to handle and transport companion animals safely within an animal facility.

AC3004 Animal Anatomy, Physiology and Husbandry:

To enable students to demonstrate and use knowledge and skills essential for maintaining companion animals in an animal facility in a positive state of welfare.


Flexible study options 

This programme is delivered by blended learning i.e. face to face and online learning. This means some of your lessons may be delivered via Moodle (our online learning platform), which will require you to have a computer and internet access at home. Students will also need to be able to study from home should Covid-19 Alert Levels change.

More detail about this qualification

Teaching and learning

To succeed in this programme, you will need to attend all scheduled on-campus classes, complete all your work experience hours and complete your self-directed learning (most of which is online on Moodle). The programme is largely classroom-based, with theory to support practical application. You will be involved in practical lessons as well as regular self-directed learning, including group work, where you will undertake a variety of tasks such as research projects and case studies.

Work experience 

Students must arrange, attend, and complete 40 hours of off-campus work experience in an animal care facility. Animal care facilities may include catteries, kennels, doggy day cares animal rescue facilities and animal control. Please note, vet clinics are not suitable. Students will be advised which is their work experience day early in the programme. Please note if your work experience day falls on a Public Holiday, you will be required to attend. You will need to arrange your own placement travel to and from your work experience; we encourage students to carpool if possible. Please note that even though the work is enjoyable, some students may find some situations emotionally distressing, such as animals that have been abused, are injured or sick, or require euthanasia.


If you have any allergies to animals, it is important to declare this at the time of enrolment, so this can be discussed with you.

Career options

Graduates could be employed in a range of businesses associated with the care of animals:

  • Pet shop employee
  • Dog daycare worker
  • Kennel/cattery assistance
  • Animal groomer
  • Animal shelters and welfare agencies

Entry requirements 

NCEA Level 1 or equivalent gained through tertiary study or relevant personal, practical, professional and/or educational experience, including literacy and numeracy competence equivalent to that specified above.

International Students

Minimum IELTS (academic) score of 5.0 with no band lower than 5.0, or equivalent.


All students are required to undergo a police check at the time of entry into the programme. In the event of an adverse police report, entry into the programme will be at the discretion of the Head of School.

Course-related costs

Medical equipment: $20
Textbook: $70
Uniform/shoes: $200
Stationary/calculator: $100
Work experience travel costs: $150-$300

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