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How to become a Veterinary Nurse

11th January 22

Being a Veterinary Nurse can be an undeniably rewarding career. You’re on the front line of animal care, helping pets and non-companion animals live a better life. 

To assume the role of a Veterinary Nurse, you go through rigorous training and education to become an effective figure in the vet clinic. With the knowledge you impart to others, helping to maintain the welfare of all kinds of animals, from domestic to working and even wild breeds. 

The market for Veterinary Nurse jobs is no doubt competitive. So, you need to do your best to stand out from the crowd of applications. Plus, there are different routes into veterinary nursing which have their own benefits. 

To help you decide, we’ve detailed the options below and ways to get experience that will help your application shine. We’ve also covered some aspects of the Veterinary Nurse role that you should consider before embarking on this journey, to be sure that it’s definitely for you and removing any unwanted surprises. 


Canine Care


What Is It Like to Be A Veterinary Nurse? 

It must be said that being a Veterinary Nurse isn’t for everyone, and with a fairly lengthy route into the profession, you want to make sure it’s the right path for you. 

There’s no taking away from the fact you’ll get to work with many adorable and loving animals. Though with the good days come the bad and sadly it’s not always a positive outcome for your patients. 

Dealing with euthanasia is something you’ll have to get used to, as is treating victims of abuse and neglect. As a Veterinary Nurse, you need to keep your composure and stay professional at all times, no matter the situation, taking solace in the fact that yours and the vets’ actions are in the best interest of each animal. 

Aside from this, the duties and physically demanding nature of Veterinary Nurse jobs can take some people by surprise. A high percentage of your time will be taken up dealing with animal owners, which might not sit well with those hoping to work solely with animals. Plus, your senior skills will be in demand in the clinic. Aside from handling animals, you’ll need to be quick on your feet if you’re needed in more places than one. So, physical fitness and stamina are essential when working as a Vet Nurse. 

Overall, you’ll need to be an effective communicator to deal with owners, vets, support staff and people from many backgrounds. You need to be equally capable of working as a team and independently when required. You’ll also need to have strong attention to detail so you can administer correct doses of medication and monitor vital signs. Above all, as a Veterinary Nurse, you need to stay calm when situations become stressful or emotional, as emergencies can be a common occurrence. 


Online Vet Courses


How To Become A Veterinary Nurse, UK Learners 

If you’re wondering how to become a Veterinary Nurse, or what qualifications are needed to be a Veterinary Nurse, you can get into vet nursing either through a university course or vocational training.  

No matter the option you take, your Veterinary Nurse course must be approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The Veterinary Nurse course must include a full-time period of practical vet nurse training in an approved training practice or practices. 

Vocational Veterinary Nurse Training 

This is the quickest route into vet nursing as courses can take as little as two years to complete. You need to study a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse, but you can do this in one of two ways.  

Option one being to study your Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing full-time, and option two being to take it as an advanced Veterinary Nurse apprenticeship, where you complete your vet nursing studies alongside employment in a veterinary practice. In some cases, employers of students on Veterinary Nurse apprenticeships choose to fund their fees. 

Those opting for the non-Veterinary Nurse apprenticeship route gain their practical experience through separate employment or voluntary work placements. Choosing vocational Veterinary Nurse training, however, allows you to blend both classroom and workplace education, which is great if you prefer hands-on learning. 

To take a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing in either capacity, you’ll generally need at least 5 GCSEs at grades C or 4. Including English, Maths and a Science subject, in addition to relevant work experience. 

You can browse RCVS accredited colleges here, or apply directly for apprentice/student Veterinary Nurse jobs at an approved training practice. 

Complete a Veterinary Nurse Degree 

You could choose to study a Foundation Degree or a BA (Hons) Degree in Veterinary Nursing. 

Veterinary Nurse degrees are the longer route to get qualified as a Vet Nurse, as they take between 3-4 years to complete. They are more academically focused, so you spend more time learning about the theory behind veterinary practices, but you still need to gain the same level of work experience through approved training practices. 

You might prefer this pathway if you want to know the concept of Veterinary Nurse jobs back-to-front before practising in a working environment. This helps you focus solely on your studies as opposed to juggling that and employment. Plus, gaining a Veterinary Nurse degree can open up different career paths, and it allows you to progress to postgraduate veterinary nursing courses in specialist areas like physiotherapy. 

To get onto a Veterinary Nursing degree, you’ll need to meet the A Level or alternate Level 3 qualification requirements. You can find out what A Levels are needed for veterinary nursing on our website. It’s also worth mentioning that you will also need to have evidence of practical work experience in a veterinary setting to enrol on a Veterinary Nurse degre. Entry requirements vary between universities, so check beforehand what you need to achieve. 

Take a look at the RCVS-accredited degrees in veterinary nursing


Study online with learndirect


Work Experience 

To get onto a vocational Veterinary Nurse course or degree requires work experience. The experience needed to be a Veterinary Nuse can be gained in veterinary practices or animal-related environments like catteries, kennels or rehoming centres. Though the more relevant experience you have, the better. 

You’ll need to enrol with the RCVS to legally carry out some of the procedures you’ll perform in your Veterinary Nurse training. Once you’re qualified and have completed your training, you can register with the RCVS as a Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVN). 

Get Started with An Online Course 

If you’re considering becoming a Vet Nurse, there are many online courses available to help you explore veterinary practice. 

A Veterinary Nursing Assistant Level 2 Diploma is a great starting point to build your knowledge. Giving you a feel for the Veterinary Nurse role to make sure it’s something you definitely want to pursue. 

It will help you become more familiar with the many duties you’d perform as a Veterinary Nurse. As well as other essential information surrounding animal health, hygiene, cleaning and disinfection, the terminology used in clinics and more. 

After studying this course you’ll be able to seek employment as a Veterinary Support Assistant, where you can directly assist veterinary nurses. This will give you a much clearer picture of what it means to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse.  

What’s more, this online course also requires a placement to carry out practical training. Giving you the chance to gain the essential hands-on experience you need for vocational training or university level study to become a Veterinary Nurse. 

You can also complete this course within a year. So it’s a quick way to upskill, practice and prepare for your career as a Veterinary Nurse.  

Enrol Today! 

If you’re wondering how to become a Veterinary Nurse, and you like the idea of first learning how to become a Veterinary Support Assistant, our online course is the ideal place to start!  

You can study online, from home, around your existing commitments during the online element of the course. Then you can organise your practical training for a time that suits you and gain the veterinary work experience that will set you apart from other applicants. 

Find out more about studying veterinary courses with learndirect by talking with our Course Executives today! They can run you through what our veterinary nursing assistant course entails, plus how you can get started.  

Call them now on 01202 006 464, contact us online or click below to view the course specification in more detail. 


How to Become a Veterinary Nurse


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