Course overview

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This course is starting in September 2022, subject to approval. 

Completion of the Level 3 Diploma in Equine Veterinary Nursing qualification will allow you to apply for professional registration as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN) with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

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.

As the largest provider of veterinary nurse training in the UK, we have a commitment to promoting animal welfare and raising the standards of veterinary nurse care. We can offer you the opportunity to train as a veterinary nurse by joining a community of like-minded students who all share a passion for animals and a desire to join an exciting and rewarding profession.

Our veterinary nursing lecturers are registered veterinary nurses or veterinary surgeons with strong industry experience, and they all share a common trait; their enthusiasm for helping the next generation of students to achieve their formal veterinary nursing qualifications and be the best vet nurses that they can be.

College 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.

In addition to the academic theory, you will also gain significant industry experience and valuable clinical skills during your employment in an equine or mixed (equine and small animal) veterinary practice will prepare you for the responsibilities that come with qualifying as a Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN).

This qualification is also available as part of an apprenticeship.

Key Facts

Attendance and Start Dates
Huntingdon – start date Tuesday 13 September (virtual delivery on Tuesdays)
Horsham – start date Tuesday 13 September (virtual delivery on Tuesdays)
Lichfield – start date Tuesday 13 September (virtual delivery on Tuesdays)

Course delivery:

  • Virtual college sessions
  • Practical skills training in blocks of two/three days (eight practical skills days per year)

24 months.

Closing dates for applications*
September 2022 intake – Saturday 6th August

*closing dates are subject to change.

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.

Course content

This qualification is also available as part of an apprenticeship

The qualification consists of a number of core units which cover the following subjects:

  • Professional Equine Veterinary Nursing Responsibilities
  • Diagnostic Principles
  • Equine Veterinary Nursing Care Principles
  • Supply of Veterinary Medicines
  • Practical Equine Veterinary Nursing Skills
  • Equine Anaesthesia
  • Equine Theatre Nursing Skills
  • Life Stage Nursing Care
  • Equine Surgical Nursing
  • Equine Surgical Nursing
  • Patient Care


Assessments will include examinations, assignments/case studies, online evidence of practical competence, and formative practical assessments. On successful completion of all other assessments you will take the final practical examination (Equine OSCEs).

Virtual Delivery (in response to Covid-19 pandemic)

Since March 2020 and the initial lockdown, the programme team continued to ensure that students were able to progress with their programme of study. The College was able to successfully replace its face to face classroom lectures with live streamed sessions and online support, allowing students to engage with their lecturers and tutors in real time either from home or from work.

The College has invested in adopting inspiring digital delivery solutions with the capabilities to match the needs of the theory elements of this course. We utilise the virtual delivery platform, BigBlueButton, to ensure that the safety of our students and staff is maintained.

Regular meetings take place with Public Health England and other college principals to review Covid-19 positive reportings amongst the population of students and to ensure that the approach we are taking is fit for purpose.

To confirm that we will continue to provide our delivery via the virtual platform as we move into 2021.

As a result of being able to deliver the theory elements of this course virtually, we have been able to offer students, where required, the opportunity to attend college for crucial practical skills sessions and exams in a safe environment.

The College is committed to continuing to provide a safe environment for students, while still maintaining a quality education to ensure students can achieve their goals.

Entry requirements

This qualification is also available as part of an apprenticeship

You must have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C (or 9-4), including English Language, Mathematics and a Science subject. Students with Scottish qualifications are required to have 5 subjects at a National 5 or Higher/Advance Higher at level A, B or C; to include Maths, English and a Science. If you do not meet these requirements, there are alternative qualifications that may be acceptable. One of these combinations is the Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants, along with GCSEs grade C or above (or Level 2 Functional Skills) in English Language and Maths.

Students must be at least 16 years of age and employed in an equine or mixed (small animal and equine) veterinary practice that is approved by the RCVS as a Training Practice (TP) or Auxiliary Training Practice (aTP).

Before applying, please ensure you read the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Disability Guidance on the Recruitment of VN Students.

International students

If you have alternative or international qualifications, and would like to know if these will allow you to undertake the diploma, please contact our administration team for advice.

If you are coming to the UK to study you should have proof of competence in the English Language by holding either the ESOL qualification at levels C1 or C2 or IELTS at a minimum score of 7.0 where your international qualifications were not taught and assessed in English. You will also be required to have your foreign qualifications officially translated into English with a notarised stamp.

If you are from outside the EU or European Economic Area and wish to study in the UK, you must obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa – visit our International Students page for further information.

Course fees

Course fees can either be paid in full before the beginning of the course, on an annual basis, or via our ‘Pay As You Learn’ monthly payment scheme

If you have not achieved your qualification by the planned end date detailed in your individual learning plan, you will be able to continue to receive support and access to your course by paying monthly direct debit payments until certification of your award.

Course Fees

Country Full Fee Annual Pay As You Learn
England £11,356 £5,678 per year £473 per month
Scotland £4,190 £2,095 per year £175 per month
Overseas £13,125 £6,563 per year £547 per month

Awarding Body Fees*

RCVS Registration: £202
Awarding Body Registration: £212
Awarding Body Exam Fee: £288.40

* Awarding Body Fees are payable by all students or employers and recharged at cost and may be subject to change.

This qualification is also available as part of an apprenticeship – view fees

Sources of financial help can be found on our student finance page. Before making any financial decision it is recommended that you seek advice from an independent source, for example the Money Advice Service.

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.

What next?

On completion of the Level 3 Diploma in Equine Veterinary Nursing and the required number of hours of veterinary nursing training, 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 practise as a veterinary nurse under the direction of a veterinary surgeon.

Remember that once you are qualified, it is your professional responsibility to continue your veterinary nurse training by ensuring that your professional knowledge and skills remain up-to-date. You can do this by undertaking short courses or further veterinary nursing qualifications.

CAW Connect

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