How To Become A Veterinary Nurse

Veterinary Nurse

The Job

Veterinary nurses help to look after animals before, during and after receiving treatment. Working as part of a veterinary practice, you will provide expert nursing care for injured or sick animals, as well as helping to advise owners on keeping their pets healthy.

Vets need to love animals and be able to stay calm when handling pets or livestock that may be in distress. You’ll also need to be good at dealing with owners, who may themselves be anxious or upset.

As well as caring for animals, vets are trained to carry out technical work, such as diagnostic tests, medical treatments and minor surgical procedures.

Annual Salary

Veterinary Nurse Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level - 3

Minimum Qualifications

Training to be a veterinary nurse requires that you take a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

Recommended Qualifications

You should hold at least a Level 3 Diploma.

Other Qualifications Needed

To qualify as a veterinary nurse you’ll need to pass a course accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVN) or other linked veterinary training practice.

There are two main routes for you to choose from - vocational and higher education. The Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing is the main vocational route, and is good for people who are practically minded. You can take this course either full-time at college or as part of an Apprenticeship.

Degree courses are more academic and lead to a Foundation Degree or Honours Degree. To take a degree course you will need to meet the entry requirements for the university, which are likely to be at least two relevant A Levels, five GCSEs (A-C), including English language, maths and science and evidence of relevant work experience.

Average Working Hours Per Week = 35-40 Hours a week


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

2-3 years

What Next/Career Development

Veterinary nurses who have taken the higher education route could progress to more advanced roles in areas such as research, teaching or the pharmaceutical industry.

If you have chosen the vocational route you could progress to degree level study or boost your skills and knowledge with additional training in areas such as animal first aid, surgical nursing or dentistry for small animals.

Facts And Figures

• There are about 8,000 registered veterinary nurses in the UK.

• 98% of vets are female.

• 64% of vetss are employed full-time.

(Source: National Careers Service)