Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Nursing Assistants

Ofqual Code
Qualification Level
Award type
Guided Learning Hours
Study mode
Start Date
Enrolment will be valid for
1 year
Entry Criteria
Assessment Method
Awarding Organisation
OCN West Midlands

Course Summary


veterinary-care-assistant-courseThe  Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Nursing Assistants has been developed for learners seeking a specialised regulated qualification in animal nursing, with the overall aim being to prepare learners for a career in animal care or Veterinary Nursing, based within a Veterinary Practice.

On this course, those who enrol will learn practical skills for caring for animals. Additionally, they will develop and grow their skills in customer services and retail which are both necessary when working as a veterinary nurse.

The Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Nursing Assistants is held in high regard in veterinary practices, providing an alternative route to GCSE’s and enhanced opportunities to progress to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

This course aims to facilitate learners’ further progression for a career in animal care or Veterinary Nursing, based within a Veterinary Practice.

It provides learners with the information required to play a valuable support role to qualified veterinary staff and to assist owners in the correct management of their companion animals.

It is a theory and practically-based qualification that has the aim of preparing a student for the rigour and level of demand required for the Vet Nursing Course.

What You Will Learn

You will learn a range of skills and develop your knowledge in a variety of different areas. This includes discovering how to manage and maintain accommodation for animals, including how to  feed and water animals to ensure that they get the care they need.

Learn how to provide basic treatments that animals often need including typical healthcare treatments. Gain practical experience with a range of routine procedures to make sure that you are fully equipped to help animals in your care.

It is crucial that those aiming to work in veterinary medicine understand the anatomy and physiology of animals. There are a range of reasons why this information will be necessary. Through the modules, you will learn how to handle and restrain animals the correct way based on their anatomy and physiology. It’s important that animals are restrained without injury.

Infection is a major concern whenever an animal is brought into a veterinary practice with an injury. Learn about the principles of infection control and how to manage an infection.

Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Nursing Assistants

Unit 1

Principles of Animal Health

This unit explores the terminology commonly used in veterinary practice and how this relates to a range of species. Students will learn about the signs of normal and abnormal health in dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards, snakes and tortoises and how to ensure good health and carry out routine health checks.

Unit 2

Principles of Body Language and Behaviour

Correct handling and restraint techniques during veterinary procedures is essential in order to reduce stress for domestic mammals and reptiles. Students will learn how to recognise and manage stress and fear when handling a variety of companion animals.

Unit 3

Principles of Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfection

High standards of cleaning and hygiene in an animal nursing environment are essential in order to prevent of the spread of disease and infection. Students will learn about infectious diseases commonly seen in domestic mammals and reptiles and the importance of maintaining a clean environment. Learn the difference between disinfection and sterilisation, understand the safe use of cleaning and disinfection chemicals and learn how to follow a cleaning protocol with a thorough understanding of areas to be cleaned and their level of infection risk. This unit also contains information about the equipment sterilised in a veterinary practice, waste disposal methods, how to reduce waste in an animal nursing environment.

Unit 4

Reception and Administrative Duties in a Veterinary Practice

This unit explores the structure of a veterinary practice and students will learn about the roles and duties of each role.

Students will learn about:

*The services provided in a veterinary practice including the referral process and the promotion and marketing of veterinary services.

*The professional standards and requirements in a veterinary environment

*The importance of health and safety in the veterinary workplace.

*How to deal with various clients including, different methods of client communication, registering a new client, making appointments, answering phones, taking payments, dealing with difficult or sensitive situations and the importance of client confidentiality.

Unit 5

The Pharmacy in a Veterinary Practice

This unit explores the workings of the veterinary pharmacy, including  stock control, safe and secure storage of medicines, waste disposal and the importance of adherence to protocols.

Students will learn about veterinary medicines and gain an understanding of each stage of the medicines management pathway, including prescribing, dispensing and administration.

Unit 6

Euthanasia and Bereavement

Students will gain an understanding of the reasons for euthanasia and the circumstances when euthanasia may be required. Students will learn how the euthanasia process is carried out and the options for the disposal of a deceased pet. Students will gain an understanding of the stages of grief and be able to recognise each of the stages.

Unit 7

Principles of First Aid

This unit explores the principles of first aid and companion animal veterinary emergencies. Students will learn the importance of communication within the veterinary team and how to support a client during the emergency. This unit also includes information about the legislation involved in first aid treatment, how to recognise a veterinary emergency, the information required when dealing with an emergency call and how to treat common injuries.

Unit 8

Veterinary Instruments

Students will learn how to identify the instruments used for routine surgeries such as castration, spay and tumour removal. This unit also covers the correct care, cleaning and storage of veterinary instruments as well as packaging and sterilisation.

Unit 9

Care of Wildlife in Veterinary Practice

Veterinary staff frequently deal with various injured or sick wildlife. Students will learn about the most commonly treated British wildlife including garden birds, hedgehogs, rabbits, badgers, foxes and deer.

Gain an understanding of the obligations to treat wildlife and the limitations to this treatment. Students will learn about the options available for further treatment and rehabilitation of wildlife if treatment is beyond the expertise of general practice.


The Next Step


Charity-team-with-dogOnce you have completed the Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Nursing Assistants, you may be able to proceed to RCVS Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. In doing so you can take your veterinary nursing career to the next level and gain even more knowledge for a top position. Ultimately this can lead to a full professional position as a Veterinary Nurse.

Those who have successfully completed the Level 2 Diploma  for Veterinary Nursing Assistants are suited to work in many animal care environments from  pet shop to animal charity. These careers can be incredibly fulfilling and will be perfect for anyone who wants to work with animals.


Opportunities Are Wide Open 



This Ofqual regulated qualification is the perfect entry point providing both practical experience and theory for those eager to further their career as a veterinary nurse.

Learners who achieve the Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Nursing Assistants and who have also attained Functional Skills/Key Skills at Level 2 in English/Communication and Mathematics/Application of Number, or the equivalent proxy qualifications, may progress onto the RCVS Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

If, at the end of the course, the learner decides that veterinary nursing is not the career that they wish to progress to, they will still have gained valuable regulated training. This will enable them to work within other areas of veterinary practice such as veterinary kennels/wards and veterinary reception. Their experience will also allow progression in other sectors of the animal industry, such as pet stores, boarding kennels or animal charities.

The Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Nursing  Assistants is a regulated qualification recognised by Ofqual.

Entry Requirements:

There are no specific academic requirements for entry onto this course. You must be 16 years or over, an animal lover and be able to read and write English. The  practical placement in  Thailand requires students to be minimum of 20 years old.



It would be advantageous if you have some previous experience in a Veterinary practice or hospital (no matter how short) prior to enrolling on the qualification, however this is not essential.

You do not need to have secured a placement ahead of enrolling on the course. If you are already working or volunteering in a Veterinary practice, it does not need to be an RCVS training practice.

This qualification includes information  about:

  • small animal body language and behaviour
  • handling and restraint (fear free methods)
  • administration/ reception duties
  • monitoring patients
  • hygiene, cleaning and disinfection (to include zoonotic and transmissible diseases)
  • instrument recognition
  • first aid (and triage of patients)
  • pharmacy
  • bereavement and euthanasia
  • british wildlife
  • health checking and knowing normal/ abnormal signs of health
  • health and safety/ legislation
  • terminology/ anatomical direction
  • practical animal care – feeding, cleaning, health checking
  • practical handling and restraint

Information about Practical Placements


  • You will need to find a placement within a registered Veterinary Practice, or an animal establishment that has an element of veterinary care. However, this does not need to be an RCVS Training Practice, it needs to be a place where you will be supervised by a qualified Veterinary Nurse or Vet; this includes private practices, animal charities, zoos and some animal care businesses.
  • Your supervisor will not be responsible for assessing your practical evidence, this will be completed by your course Tutor via evidence provided (this can be written, photographic or video evidence, or a mixture of all 3 – full instruction will be provided during the course)
  • You will be responsible for managing your evidence gathering to ensure all practical assessment criteria is covered with your supervisor signing it off to agree your competence.
  • All practical criteria as outlined in the course, must be covered during your practical placement. However, there is no set number of hours that you will need to attend your placement. You may want to complete this as a block placement over a number of weeks, or you may prefer to attend for a set number of hours per week to suit your schedule or to fit in with the placements availability.
  • Once you have enrolled on the course, please let us know if you would like us to provide you with a letter for use when approaching suitable placements.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Who can do the course?

A good, working standard of English and mathematics is required.  There are no specific academic requirements for entry onto this course. You must be 16 years or over, an animal lover and be able to read and write English.

It would be advantageous if you have some previous experience in a Veterinary practice or hospital (no matter how short) prior to enrolling on the qualification, however this is not essential.

You do not need to have secured a placement ahead of enrolling on the course. If you are already working or volunteering in a Veterinary practice, it does not need to be an RCVS training practice.

How long do I have to complete the course?

You need to be able to complete the course within 1 year of enrolment

Do I have to have a practical placement to enrol on this course?

Students will need to  find their own practical placement.

How is the course designed, delivered and assessed?

The course is designed primarily, to be a self-study, distance learning course with tutor support to guide and support you through the learning and materials. The materials contain internet resources that have been examined for quality, content and access that are relevant to the topics and subject matter in the different units.

Are there any examinations

There are no examinations for the Level 2 Diploma for Animal Nursing Assistants as such but there are assessments at the end of each unit and  students are required to build a portfolio of evidence of  learning and understanding according to assessments set out in the course materials. Internal moderation of your portfolio is carried out by your tutor at Animal Jobs Direct and then moderated externally.

How long can I expect to be studying?

Each unit of this qualification contains a certain number of Guided Learning Hours (GLH) to give an indication of how long you can expect to be studying and preparing for any one unit’s assessment. Although the GLH of any unit may seem small (please see the specification above), you need to take into account the research and reading before attempting the assessments.

*You will have access to the course for 12 months only. You can purchase course extensions.

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