Veterinary nursing is a natural choice for those with their minds set on working with animals. If you have a passion for animal welfare, then you are likely already familiar with the profession and the important role that vet nurses play in raising animal welfare standards. You may have had experiences with veterinary nurses by virtue of owning your own pet, or from seeing their work in action on a TV programme.

Veterinary nurses are vital to the running of a successful veterinary practice, and are responsible for working with veterinary surgeons to provide care and treatment to a variety of different animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits. The sense of purpose that comes from nursing an ill animal back to health, and the long-lasting friendships fostered whilst working as part of a close knit team, make becoming a veterinary nurse a worthwhile ambition.

There are a range of veterinary nurse qualifications available, from Further Education (Level 3 Diploma) through to Higher Education (FdSc and BSc Honours); the College is pleased to offer all of these programmes.

View our Veterinary Nursing Careers Guide

Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing - Companion Animal Pathway (VetSkill)This qualification will allow you to apply for professional registration as a Registered Veterinary Nurse with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).Find out moreVeterinary Nurse (Level 3) Apprenticeship - Companion Animal As an apprentice veterinary nurse, you will work in a veterinary practice and study on a day release basis. On successful completion of your apprenticeship you will be able to apply for professional registration as a Registered Veterinary Nurse with the RCVSFind out moreLevel 3 Diploma in Equine Veterinary Nursing (Vetskill) Study equine veterinary nursing on a day release basis and once you have successfully completed this course apply for professional registration as a Registered Veterinary Nurse with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).Find out moreVeterinary Nurse (Level 3) Apprenticeship - EquineAchieve a recognised qualification in equine veterinary nursing by training as an apprentice. On successful completion of your apprenticeship you will be able to apply for professional registration as a Registered Veterinary Nurse with the RCVS.Find out moreFdSc Veterinary Nursing (Royal Veterinary College)This three year, full time, programme – delivered and awarded by the Royal Veterinary College (University of London) in partnership with The College of Animal Welfare – allows graduates to apply to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses. It provides the unique opportunity to study veterinary nursing at the UK’s largest and oldest veterinary school, and to be taught by world renowned clinicians.Find out moreBSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Top-Up Degree (Middlesex University)Delivered in conjunction with The College of Animal Welfare, this veterinary nursing degree programme, awarded by Middlesex University, is perfect for diploma level veterinary nurses looking to ‘top up’ their qualification to a BSc Honours Veterinary Nursing degree.Find out moreBSc Honours Veterinary Nursing with Foundation Year (Middlesex University) HuntingdonThis programme offers students an alternative entry pathway onto the BSc (Honours) Veterinary Nursing programme for those who do not meet the necessary entry requirements.Find out moreBSc Honours Veterinary Nursing Degree (Middlesex University) London, Huntingdon or LeedsOriginally the first of its kind in Europe, this degree programme – jointly developed by Middlesex University and The College of Animal Welfare – encourages students to study in, not only first opinion practice, but world-renowned animal welfare clinics.Find out moreVetSkill VTEC Level 4 Award for Animal Medicines Advisors (SQP – Companion Animal)The VetSkill VTEC Level 4 Award for Animal Medicines Advisors (SQP – Companion Animal) is designed for those looking to gain the necessary qualification to be able to prescribe and supply veterinary medicine classes POM-VPS and/or NFA-VPS to companion animals. Find out moreMicrochip Implantation Refresher for Veterinary NursesThis short online course is ideal for registered veterinary nurses who wish to update their knowledge of microchipping dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets, in line with current regulations.Find out moreContinuing Professional DevelopmentOur range of continuing professional development (CPD) courses are suitable for both qualified and student veterinary nurses. Remember that once qualified, it is your professional responsibility to ensure further veterinary nurse training is undertaken regularly, to ensure that your professional knowledge remains up-to-date.Find out more
Subject overview

If you’re looking to embark on a professional career where you can put your love of animals to good use and promote responsible pet ownership – veterinary nursing could be the profession for you!

Dedication to your work and towards improving your own professional standards is key to succeeding in the profession, because many veterinary nurses end up taking their work home with them. Sometimes this could be in the form of an abandoned or stray animal that needs a place to stay!

Whilst many veterinary nurses work within small teams, you should also possess the confidence and initiative needed to work with little supervision, and be able to cope with the emotional and physical demands of the job.

Is veterinary nursing for you?

Working as a veterinary nurse, no two days would be the same. You would be responsible for assisting with the care of a wide range of animals, and each day you are likely to face a variety of different tasks. You might be assisting a veterinary surgeon in theatre, or advising an owner on the most appropriate method of flea control for their pet. You may also be involved with:

  • 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

Whilst much of the work that veterinary nurses carry out is challenging and rewarding, most workplaces have tedious tasks that we would all rather avoid; but these jobs are just as important in helping an organisation to thrive. In veterinary nursing, these jobs come in the form of cages that need to be cleaned and floors that need to be mopped; therefore you should also be prepared to take on hard and dirty work when necessary.

More information on how to become a veterinary nurse can be found on our career profiles for veterinary nursing.

Why choose to study veterinary nursing at The College of Animal Welfare?

  • Experienced and supportive lecturers
    We are proud of the fact that all of the lecturers delivering our veterinary nursing courses have significant industry experience and knowledge under their belts and all share a common passion for pushing the profession forward. They do this by helping students to get the most out of their formal training and become the best veterinary nurses they can be.
  • Gain real long term job prospects
    Job prospects for registered veterinary nurses continue to remain high both within veterinary practice and in related industries. In addition, a nationwide shortage of veterinary nurses means that your job prospects once qualified are excellent. Salary prospects have improved significantly in recent years, the median salary package for qualified veterinary nurses is now £30,500 (SPVS Salaries Survey 2022/3). To explore the opportunities available, you can visit our job board, which advertises veterinary nurse jobs for both qualified and student veterinary nurses.
  • Flexible veterinary nurse training
    As the largest provider of veterinary nurse training in the UK, it is important to us that the opportunity to undertake our courses is open to everyone that has the dedication needed to succeed in the profession, regardless of background. As such our veterinary nursing courses are available in a variety of different formats, ranging from diploma to degree level. We can offer you the opportunity to study within a community of like-minded students and staff, who all share a common passion for animal welfare and a commitment to pushing forward what is already an exciting and rewarding profession.

View our Veterinary Nursing Careers Guide

Careers options in veterinary nursing can be found at: