- Expected duration: 30-36 months, including two years of college attendance. 20% of the apprentice’s time must be spent studying off the job – time spent at college counts towards this
- England (Huntingdon, North London, Leeds, Wigan). It may be possible to undertake an apprenticeship at our Edinburgh centre if the apprentice is resident in England and spends at least 50% of their employment in England
- This course is also available as a Level 3 Diploma for those not eligible for an apprenticeship
Please visit the course content tab towards the top of the page to gain a greater insight into the delivery of this course during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Attendance and Start Dates – Day release:
Basildon – TBC
Biddulph – TBC
Bodmin – TBC
County Durham – April 2023
Derby – TBC
Huntingdon – Monday 9 January 2023 (Mondays)
Horsham – TBC
Leeds – Monday 9 January 2023 (Mondays)
North London – Monday 9 January 2023 (Mondays)
Solihull – April 2023
Wigan – Monday 9 January 2023 (Mondays)
Attendance and Start Dates – Block release (virtual blended delivery with attendance required for practical skills blocks):
Edinburgh – September 2023
Huntingdon – September 2023
Leeds – September 2023
If you are attending our Huntingdon centre on a block release basis we can help source local accommodation if required – please contact us for details and costs.
Closing dates for applications:*
January 2023 intake – Saturday 26 November 2022
*closing dates are subject to change.
Is veterinary nursing for you?
Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs) are a vital part of the veterinary team. They work alongside veterinary surgeons to provide expert nursing care and support to animal patients and educate owners on maintaining the health of their pets.
As a veterinary nurse you should be hard working, passionate about animals, pragmatic and dedicated to your work; many veterinary nurses end up taking their work home with them – often quite literally in the form of kittens and that need hand rearing or abandoned or stray animals! The work can involve long and unsociable hours, but the rewards from making a difference to the lives of animals and owners every day make the job so worthwhile.
No two days are the same! Some of the tasks you may be involved with include:
- Preparing animals for surgery and performing minor surgical procedures
- Monitoring anaesthetised animals
- Nursing sick animals and administering medication
- Taking x-rays and carrying out diagnostic tests
- Advising owners on the health and welfare of their pets
- Taking bookings, payments and completing necessary paperwork
- Running nurse clinics, such as diet, worming and grooming consultations
As a veterinary nurse apprentice, you will be employed in a veterinary practice, earning a wage, and gaining vital practical skills and experience. This small animal qualification will cover the following species – Cat, Dog, Rabbit and Guinea Pig. You will attend College on either a day release, or block release, basis and have access to your course materials via our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
By choosing to study with The College of Animal Welfare – one of the largest providers of veterinary care training in the UK – you will be joining a community of like-minded students and staff, who all share a passion for animal welfare and pushing the profession forward.
If you are looking for employment as a veterinary nurse apprentice, please take a look at our current apprenticeships vacancies or Jobs Board; from time to time there are details of veterinary nurse apprenticeship vacancies.
As part of this apprenticeship you will also receive a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing and be eligible to apply for professional registration with the RCVS as a Registered Veterinary Nurse.
Benefits to employers
- Increased productivity: Maximise staff efficiency though the development of knowledge, skills and professional responsibilities
- Cost effective: Minimise recruitment and training costs
- Grow your own: Develop your next generation of registered veterinary nurses
- Enhanced reputation: Provide client reassurance by investing in trained staff
The College of Animal Welfare has a well-earned reputation for excellence; delivering quality training and education and employer support. Your apprentice will benefit from:
- Support and guidance from qualified lecturers with strong industry experience
- Diverse teaching, learning and assessment approaches catered for individual needs
- Access to our unique Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and extensive eLibrary resources
- Access to state-of-the-art clinical skills facilities
Enter your email address to download a prospectus
You will gain the essential knowledge, skills and behaviours needed of a professionally registered veterinary nurse to work within the standards and scope of practice defined by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
With this apprenticeship the VetSkill Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing is studied. Embedded within this qualification is the content required to become a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) for companion animals.
You will gain a comprehensive understanding of:
- Legislative compliance and regulatory requirements
- Comparative functional anatomy for veterinary nursing practice
- Infection control in veterinary practice
- Materials, equipment and resources
- Veterinary Nursing Care
- Emergency and critical care
- Diagnostic techniques for veterinary nurses
You will gain the Veterinary Nursing Day One Skills required by the RCVS and understand the importance of:
- Legislation affecting practice
- Clinical skills
You will understand the importance of abiding by the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses including:
- Working within legal and ethical limits
You will also undertake Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths unless exempt.
On programme assessments
You will undertake a variety of assessments including online examinations, assignments and case studies. You will also complete an e-portfolio over the course of your training, as evidence of practical competence. At the end of year one there is a formative practical assessment.
If you are required to undertake Functional Skills Level 2 in English and Maths, these are assessed via online examinations and practical assessments.
Once you have completed these, and undertaken the required amount of training, you will be able to undertake the End Point Assessment.
End Point Assessment (EPA)
The EPA consists of
- A Professional Discussion
- A Practical Assessment in the form of an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
The Professional discussion is a structured 45 minute interview between the apprentice and an independent assessor covering a range of knowledge, skills and behaviours through scenario competence-based questions.
Once all other assessments have been passed, you will complete a final practical examination (OSCEs).
Blended virtual learning delivery
For the blended virtual learning format you will receive a combination of lectures, independent online learning activities and practical skills sessions.
We use a virtual classroom platform which allows you to engage with tutors and peers in real time either from home or from work. You are expected to participate in all learning activities and it is important that you have a working mic and camera on your laptop or PC to allow this. Practical sessions are in the college environment and most exams are also completed in the college centres. All virtual classroom sessions are recorded and are available to view after the event for consolidation of learning and revision purposes.
Blended learning sessions offer diverse teaching, learning and assessment approaches catered for the individual needs of learners, enabling them to develop the required knowledge and skills needed to join a rewarding profession as qualified veterinary nurses. What’s more – the easy, remote access to learning resources provided to learners via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) means that learners get the best out of their studies with us, both in and outside of College.
Make the most of virtual learning
Please find a copy of our guide to making the most of virtual learning here, for hints and tips on making the most of virtual learning.
Face-to-face classroom delivery
You will attend your centre on a day release (one day per week during term time) basis as per the Scheme of Work requirements. You will receive your teaching in a classroom/clinical skills setting with class sizes limited to a specified capacity and you will be studying, learning, and developing your skills directly alongside your peers.
Many theory sessions build on the independent online learning element of the programme therefore it is critical that you prepare for your lectures by having completed the necessary online activities ahead of your live session.
In addition to your college studies you will gain significant industry experience in an RCVS approved veterinary practice, either a Training Practice (TP) or an auxiliary Training Practice (aTP).
The valuable clinical and employment skills you will learn whilst working in a real life setting will help you to better understand how a fast paced veterinary environment operates, and will prepare you for the responsibilities that come with qualifying as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN).
You must have a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C or above (4-9), including English Language, Mathematics and a Science subject. If you do not meet the GCSE requirement, there are alternative qualifications that may be acceptable; one of these combinations is the City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants, or VetSkill Level 2 Certificate in Veterinary Care Support, along with full Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths i.e. Level 2 Functional Skills or GCSE at grade C or above.
You will also need to be living and working in England in a veterinary practice that is approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) as a Training Practice (TP or aTP) earning at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices. To complete this apprenticeship within the 30-36 month time frame you will need to be working for a minimum of 30 hours per week, if you are working less than 30 hours a week the length of your apprenticeship will be extended depending on your working hours.
Please note apprentices attending our Edinburgh centre must be resident in England and spend at least 50% of their employment in England.
Before applying, please ensure you read the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Fitness to Practise: A Guide for UK Providers of Veterinary Nursing Education and Student Veterinary Nurses, which can be downloaded here.
If you have a level 3 (or above) qualification is a similar subject you may not be able to undertake this apprenticeship, in which case you may wish to undertake the Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing as a standalone qualification.
Students with foreign qualifications are required to have their certificates translated using a UK ENIC Statement to confirm if they have previously achieved Level 2 English and Level 2 maths for their apprenticeship. If a student has not previously achieved this, they will need to complete Functional Skills English and/or maths as part of their apprenticeship. More information about how to apply, how it works and prices can be found on the UK ENIC’s website here.
Apprenticeship fees are payable by the employer. Prior to starting the course an invoice will be issued for the total course fee.
If you have not achieved your qualification by the planned end date detailed in your individual learning plan, your employer will be able to pay monthly direct debit payments to allow you to continue to receive support and access to your course until certification of your award.
Small employers/Non-levy payers (with an annual payroll bill of less than £3 million)
Fee as of 1 April 2019 – £750 payable in one payment
Large employers/Levy payers (with an annual payroll bill of more than £3 million)
Digital account payment – £15,000
Please note these fees are also fully inclusive of RCVS student registration, awarding body fees and first exam and End Point Assessment attempts.
These are current figures and may be subject to change. The differences in course fees reflect the level of funding that is available as a result of government policies and priorities. These may be as a result of age, employment status, previous education achievements, or location for example, and are outside the control of The College of Animal Welfare.
On completion of your apprenticeship you will be eligible to apply to join the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ (RCVS) Register of Veterinary Nurses and use the post nominal term, RVN. Entry on the register allows you to legally practice as a veterinary nurse under the direction of a veterinary surgeon.
Many veterinary nurses choose to remain in first opinion veterinary practice, however there are also opportunities to pursue more specialist roles in referral practices, emergency ‘out of hours’ practices or large veterinary hospitals; perhaps specialising in a particular area such as surgical nursing. You could also find work in, for example, teaching, management, research or sales.
You may also look to pursue further training by ‘topping up’ your qualification to a full degree by undertaking the BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Degree Top Up Programme, available at Edinburgh Napier University via distance learning. A degree would open up further opportunities in post graduate study, such as veterinary physiotherapy.
Remember that once you are qualified, it is your professional responsibility to ensure that your professional knowledge and skills remain up-to-date. You can do this by undertaking short courses or further veterinary nursing qualifications. Our CPD and short courses are designed for registered and student veterinary nurses alike, and can be undertaken to refresh veterinary knowledge and keep up with the latest developments in the profession.
After you complete your studies with The College of Animal Welfare, you will be invited to join our alumni association, CAW Connect. CAW Connect is a social networking website and education hub which gives you the opportunity to connect with other alumni, enjoy industry discounts, make use of exclusive careers advice and resources, find new job opportunities and keep up-to-date with the latest industry news. Find out more about CAW Connect
Lydia Christie Smith first joined the The College of Animal Welfare by undertaking the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management course. During her time on this course she completed two weeks of work experience within a veterinary practice and realised that veterinary nursing was the career for her! After her course, she was offered a full time position as a student veterinary nurse and Lydia went on to complete the Advanced Apprentcieship/Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing course. We caught up with Lydia and asked her to share some of her experiences about her time at College. Read the case study.