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Do you want to work as a veterinary nurse?

  • Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
  • ​Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
  • If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential nurses from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!

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UPDATED: 1 September 2020

1. What is a veterinary nurse?

A Veterinary Nurse works hand-in-hand with the Veterinarian and does everything except clinical consultations and surgery, subject to the Laws of specific countries. Veterinary nursing is the supportive care of animals receiving treatment within a veterinary practice.

Study duration?

You can become a registered Veterinary Nurse on average after 2 years.

Colour of scrubs?

Most veterinary personnel wear green scrubs

2. What do they do?

Category:

Health / Marine Conservation / Wildlife Conservation / Zoos, Aquariums, Museums and Theme Parks

Focus:

​They basically assist the Vet when treating sick animals, with the routine check-ups and also talk with the owners of pets about the general care of their pets.

Daily Tasks:

  • Treating minor injuries, wounds
  • Doing x-rays
  • Helping with giving anesthetics (the things given to an animal to help it sleep while the Vet is operating on it)
  • Cleaning and disinfecting the kennels
  • Sterilizing the laboratory, theater and surgical equipment
  • Helping pets by feeding them, grooming them, giving them exercise and even brushing their teeth
  • Help with office work, like booking appointments, checking in animals, keeping files on each pet and making sure that there is enough medicine in stock.

Where they work:

Environment

Veterinary nurses work mostly indoors, in clinics, vet practices or animal hospitals. They may also work for wildlife or zoo veterinarians and assist while outdoors.

Places of Employment –

They work together with veterinary surgeons in various places, including veterinary clinics, zoos, animal parks, aquariums and in the wild.

Average Salary:

South Africa:
Annual salary of R175,665
Australia:
Annual salary of AU$43,000
UK:
Annual salary of £17,972
USA:
Annual salary of $31,000

Difficulties:

Being a Veterinary Nurse, you experience similar difficult moments than Veterinarians, and it’s good to know these things before you truly make a decision to pursue this career:

  • Most veterinarians are on call around the clock since emergencies can occur at any time. Schedules may include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Dealing with sick animals and their distraught owners can be very stressful.
  • Vets may in certain circumstances need to put an animal to sleep, called euthanasia.
  • Sick or frightened animals may bite, kick, or otherwise injure those who are treating them.

​Future growth and Possibilities:

3. Which Skills are required?

The skills required for a career as a veterinary nurse can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • ​Good business knowledge
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent computer literacy
Life Skills
40%
Career Skills
60%

4. Which Subjects must I have at School?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

5. What will I need to Study?

Minimum Requirements:

The minimum requirement to be a veterinary nurse is a College Diploma, but most nurses do go on to study for a Bachelor’s Degree to secure the best positions.

Focus:

Major –

Study towards veterinary nursing, biology, zoology or veterinary technology.

Short Courses –

Many colleges or online training institute offer excellent short courses.

Duration:

The duration of College and Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Stepping Stone Career:

Being a veterinary nurse can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).

You can begin as an intern nurse after the necessary college diploma and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a veterinary nurse will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a veterinarian.

Join the Veterinary Nurses Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Certification will be required in certain countries, and will be done through the national veterinary associations.

Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.

Professional Associations:

7. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards nursing and care.

Veterinary Nurse Career_opt

8. Join the OZT community

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a veterinary nurse.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Veterinary Nurse, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

Other interesting Careers

Career Profiles and Resources

Career Mentors are Members who assist by volunteering to keep each Career Page factual and current, while mentoring Students in the related Career Group.

Learn More …

Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:

Contribution Form

List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:

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A few pictures about the Career:

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Some of the best websites to help you decide on the Career:

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