New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Veterinary Nursing Assistant)

Become a veterinary nurse assistant. Learn and practise a range of clinical, surgical and diagnostic skills, both in the classroom as well as on work placement in veterinary clinics. You will be eligible to apply for registration with the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association.

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

VN4100: Introduction to Professional Practice

To enable students to demonstrate knowledge and skills essential for professional practice in veterinary practices.VN4101: Animal Health and HusbandryTo enable students to demonstrate an understanding of animal health and husbandry and apply this while working with animals in an animal care facility.

VN4102: Reception and Client Services

To enable students to provide client and patient services in an animal care facility.

VN5100: Clinical Practice

To enable students to develop clinical practice, knowledge and skills, and use these while assisting the veterinary nurse or veterinarian.

VN5101: Diagnostics and Hospitalised Patient Care

To enable students to demonstrate knowledge of diagnostic and hospitalised patient procedures and practices by assisting with these in a veterinary clinic.

VN5102: Surgery Preparation and Anaesthesia

To enable students to develop and apply skills and techniques essential for assisting in surgery and with anaesthesia.

VN5103: Professional Practice

To enable students to demonstrate integration of knowledge, skills and behaviours through providing professional veterinary nursing assistance in a veterinary clinic.

Teaching and learning

To succeed in this programme, you will need to attend all scheduled on-campus classes, complete all your work placement hours, and complete your self-directed learning (most of which is online in 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 placement

Students must attend and complete a minimum of 240 work placement hours as follows:

  • 200 hours in a veterinary clinic. You will need to secure your own work placement in a veterinary clinic and complete a minimum of 200 hours. This placement needs to be scheduled for each Tuesday from 05 April 2022-18 October 2022 for 8-hour days (excluding the mid-trimester break from Monday 27 June until Friday 08 July 2022).
  • 40 hours in an animal care facility. During trimester two, your tutor will arrange a second work placement at Animates Vetcare. This is scheduled across three weeks on a Wednesday and Thursday to provide students with an experience in a second veterinary clinic.

You will need to arrange your own travel to and from your work placements; we encourage students to carpool if possible.


Important Note: 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.

Course Outlines

Looking for the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)? Visit the programme page here 

How to apply

1. We recommend you apply online from the WelTec website.

2. Before you start your online application, you will need to have the following documentation available to upload when requested:

*Give the referee report to a person who is willing to be your referee. Ask them to complete the form and either return to yourself (so you can upload with your application), or scan and email to within 10 days.

Alternatively, completed applications can be printed off and dropped into:

Enrolments, Whitireia New Zealand3 Wi Neera Drive, Porirua


Enrolments, WelTec21 Kensington Avenue, Petone, Lower Hutt

Career options

Graduates of this qualification may be employed as a Veterinary Nurse Assistant working with companion animals in an animal-related facility and be able to:

  • Maintain animal health and husbandry of animals in a veterinary clinic
  • Care for hospitalised patients.
  • Assist in surgery preparation and anaesthesia
  • Assist with routine diagnostic procedures.

Entry requirements 

60 credits at NCEA Level 2 with at least 12 credits in Level 2 English, 12 credits in Level 1 Maths and 12 credits of relevant science at Level 1, or equivalent tertiary study, or meets the education provider’s requirements for the equivalent numeracy and literacy standards.

English Language (for international students)

A minimum IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with no band score lower than 5.5, or equivalent.


 Achieved the academic entry requirements in New Zealand or at an institution where English was the language of instruction and assessment.


Applicants must:

  • be a minimum of 18 years of age at the commencement of the programme
  • provide a curriculum vitae and two reference
  • provide a medical declaration indicating there is no evidence of a medical condition that will impact on their ability to practice safely as a veterinary nurse assistanthave at least three days of work experience and/or observation of animals within a veterinary clinic
  • 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. In exceptional circumstances the requirement for a police check may be waived by the Head of School
  • students need to come in with a work placement.

 Applicants must attend an interview which is used to discuss:

  • preparedness and commitment to study
  • identification of strengths and weaknesses related to study
  • good character and aptitude for working with animals and the public.

Where it is suggested that the applicant is not ready to undertake the programme they will be supported to explore alternative study pathways

Course-related costs

Medical equipment: $120
Textbooks: $200
Uniform/shoes: $250
Stationary/calculator: $100
Placement travel costs: $250


Allergies 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

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