Summary of occupation
Veterinary nurses assist in the diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases,
illnesses and injuries. They are responsible for the welfare of the
animals who stay at the veterinary clinic or surgery, and usually
feed, water, clean and exercise them. They will also administer
drugs, conduct tests, check stock and order drugs and other
veterinary supplies, and undertake other administrative and reception
Veterinary nurses may take and develop x-rays, collect blood samples, prepare
animals for surgery, assist during surgery, or run support services
such as animal weight loss clinics or dog training classes.
Cares for animals under treatment or in
temporary residence at veterinary facilities and assists
Veterinarians to perform procedures and operations.
Animal Nurse, Veterinary Assistant
A veterinary nurse needs:
a love of animals
the ability to handle and interact with animals
an interest in biology
good communication skills
Veterinary nurses usually work in veterinary clinics, surgeries or consulting
rooms. They work as part of a team alongside other veterinary nurses
and doctors, and may be expected to work irregular hours. As the work
often involves sick animals it may be unpleasant at times, and can
involve liaising with clients about their pet's illness or
Veterinary nurses in Western Australia may work in urban or suburban veterinary
clinics, or may be involved in the farming industry in regional areas
like the Wheatbelt or the Kimberley.
Veterinary Nurses can expect to earn between $460 and $652 per week* depending
on the type of work they undertake and the organisation they work
*ABS Census (2006)
Veterinary nurses work often alongside veterinary doctors or surgeons during
operations and other medical procedures, and as such are usually
required to be familiar with the equipment and instruments used
during these procedures. These may include ultrasound and
radiographic machines, and surgical equipment like forceps, clamps,
scissors and scalpels. Most veterinary nurses will also need to be
familiar with general medical equipment like thermometers,
stethoscopes and otoscopes. Some veterinary nurses may also need to
be familiar with specialised animal orthopaedic equipment.
To become a qualified veterinary nurse you can access training at
The Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing is available from Bentley and
Geraldton TAFE campuses. The course usually takes two semesters (12
months) to complete.
You can also become qualified to work as a veterinary nurse through a
traineeship, which combines workplace training with paid employment.
Training may be delivered entirely in the work place, or some aspects
of training may be delivered on the premises of a registered training
organisation, such as a TAFE. The traineeship normally takes 24
If you are still at school
You can access a traineeship through your school. You generally start
your school based traineeship by attending school three days a week,
spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at
Talk to your schoolʼs VET Coordinator to start your training now through
VET in Schools.
Studying Science at school will help you in your further studies.
If you get a full-time traineeship you can apply to leave school before
reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for a traineeship and get
paid while you learn and work.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification. Visit the ApprentiCentre to find out more.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.