Course overview

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This qualification is also available as part of an apprenticeship

Completion of the City & Guilds 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).

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.

The academic theory you will explore through classroom study, and the valuable clinical skills you will gain 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).

Key Facts

Attendance and Start Dates
Block release at Huntingdon starting May 2020. You will attend college for four x two week blocks per year for two years. The rest of your time will be spent gaining practical experience via employment in an equine or mixed (small animal and equine) veterinary practice through employment.

We can help source local accommodation for you during your blocks at College if required – please contact us for details and costs.

24 months.

Course content

This qualification is also available as part of an apprenticeship

Over the course of the qualification you will cover 15 core units:

Core units:

  • Understanding the operational requirements of a veterinary practice
  • Applied anatomy and physiology for equine veterinary nursing practice
  • Professional relationships and communication for veterinary nursing practice
  • Applied equine welfare, health and husbandry for veterinary nurses
  • Infection control in veterinary practice
  • Veterinary nursing support of equine patients
  • Supporting the supply of veterinary medicines
  • Veterinary nursing support of diagnostic imaging
  • Veterinary nursing support of laboratory diagnostics
  • Veterinary operating theatre practice
  • Peri-operative veterinary nursing support of equine patients
  • Principles of supporting veterinary anaesthesia
  • Preparing for professional registration
  • Equine veterinary nursing emergency and critical care
  • Principles of equine reproduction and neonatal care


You will undertake a variety of assessments including online examinations, assignments and case studies. You will also complete a Nursing Progress Log (NPL) over the course of your training, as evidence of practical competence. On successful completion of all other assessments you will take the final practical examination (Equine OSCEs).

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: £190 (£196 from 1st January 2020)
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

If you are over 19 years of age you may be entitled to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help fund your studies! (England only)

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