Animal Industries Resource Centre

Personalised and Professional Education and Training (RTO Code 31424)

Starting Your Career

How to get started as an animal care professional.

There are similarities and differences faced by every aspiring vet nurse and professional animal carer. Here at AIRC, we’re proud to have trained generations of vet nurses over two decades. And we’ve been guides for thousands of animal carers seeking meaningful employment in the animal care industry. On this page you’ll find our breakdown of the typical career pathway, with advice along the way.

Becoming the vet nurse animals need, at a glance

While it’s true that no two paths are absolutely alike, there are key waypoints you must consider.

Do Your Research

We recommend speaking to your local veterinarian or family friends who may already work in the industry. If it’s advice you’re looking for, we invite you to make use of our free career guides to set you on your way.

Get Your Foot In The Door

Whether or not you’ve completed a nationally recognised qualification, the animal care industry is personal, thriving, and busy. Your local vet practice may have volunteer opportunities, but you’ll maximise your chance of being noticed if you demonstrate your skills and commitment by completing the Certificate I In Animal Care Industry Pathways

Consider Funding Options

We can direct you toward two sources of funding for your qualification journey, though others exist elsewhere. Our Traineeship programs are available to residents of Queensland and Tasmania, while the Higher Level Skills Program offers co-contribution funding for the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing (Queensland only).

Become Qualified

A completed Certificate IV In Veterinary Nursing signifies that a vet nurse is now professionally qualified. This nationally recognised qualification is also well respected internationally, and is a rewarding option for students of Hong Kong, Singapore, the UAE, and Malaysia. There are prerequisites you must first attain in order to apply for enrolment in the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

Hear from our animal career and education guides

Tracy Woodland, our RTO Operations Supervisor has been an education guide for aspiring vet nurses for over 16 years. Here are her tips for aspiring vet nurses to develop their careers in the animal care industry.

FAQs about becoming an animal care professional

We recommend you contact one of our education guides and research the learning opportunities available through our prevocational courses. The trick is to show your dedication and promise by seeking meaningful education and volunteer opportunities.

School based students from Queensland and Tasmania should consider a School Based Traineeship.

Depending on the nature of this work and any prior qualifications you hold, we would in general point you towards the Certificate II in Animal Studies and the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. Contact one of our education guides to understand your qualification pathway in more detail.

We have many students who seek out our courses in order to start a new career in the animal care industry. The pathways we can invite you to consider take a similar shape to those looking to take first steps in their professional life. Contact one of our education guides to seek advice on your options.

Let’s start with some tips, then discuss learning options to help you stand out.

  • Take the time to update your resume and it’s presentation – remember first impressions are everything!
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to play ‘interviewer’ and practice your interview techniques and answers – ask them for honest feedback
  • Visit all your local veterinary surgeries or animal care businesses and introduce yourself! Leave a copy of your resume in a neat folder (loose paper can be lost) and use a cover letter to document why you want a job and whether you are prepared to work as a volunteer
  • Drop in every 3 months to give a potential employer an updated version of your resume and contact details
  • Find some volunteer work in the field you want to work in. (Source Personal Accident Insurance for Volunteer/Work Experience Students – this means a company can happily have you as a volunteer without worrying about litigation if you are hurt or injured.)

Alright, that’s a bit to start. But what about learning options? If you’re starting out, we recommend you consider undertaking a prevocational course.

Prevocational courses are those intended for study prior to gaining employment. By studying such courses, prospective employers can see that you are a keen learner and therefore a valuable asset to a business.

If you have suitable workplace access, we recommend the prevocational course, Certificate I In Animal Care Industry Pathways. If you do not have suitable access to an animal care workplace, you might consider the non-accredited Pet Care Technician Course, offered by our sister organisation, Crampton Consulting Group.

Yes. As mentioned, AIRC can connect eligible students with funding subsidies via participation in the government assisted Traineeships and Higher Skills Learning Program. An average of 41 % of Australian learners studying with AIRC receive funding. Learn more about funding options and eligibility here.

Employment opportunities in the animal care industry are highly sought after. Some ways to find these opportunities are by way of advertisements on seek.com.au, veterinary employment agencies, the VNCA website, and classified sections on our parent company’s website at Provet.

We also advise students to take their resumes to practices and animal care facilities ensuring that care is taken with their presentation, they are well dressed and groomed. One of the best ways for your resume to stand out from the crowd is to have committed to animal related studies and volunteering in animal care facilities. This will show a desire and dedication to the welfare of animals.

The short answer is yes. We provide advanced skills training for qualified vet nurses via our Diploma of Veterinary Nursing. We invite you to read more about the specialisation options available within that program here. And to contact one of our education guides to understand your options in more detail, human to human.

If you are interested in Professional Development courses then consider subscribing to a suite of over one hundred courses with our sister organisation, Crampton Consulting Group.

There are many skills training programs aimed at increasing the leadership and management capacity of business professionals. We encourage you to read about our Diploma of Leadership and Management and contact one of our education guides to get a feel for why learning with AIRC is particularly beneficial for animal care industry professionals.

About AIRC

Animal Industries Resource Centre (AIRC) is the longest practicing private animal care and vet nurse RTO in Australia. Our commitment is to the delivery of exceptional training in the fields of animal care and veterinary nurse practice.

We’ve helped generations of vet nurses develop their careers, many of whom now operate in senior level positions in the most advanced veterinary facilities internationally and across Australia.

We help our students take the right next step for them in a context of support and guidance.

Contact our education guides for career advice, funding inquiries and application support