New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) with Veterinary Nursing Assistant Strand New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) with Veterinary Nursing Assistant Strand

A-Z study guide
animal science image

CertificateFull-time, 1 year

Programme code








Domestic Applications due

30 October

International Applications due

30 October for February start


Christchurch - Madras Street

Annual Fees(indicative 2019)


$6,240 - $6,670



Course related costs


About this programme

Gain the skills and knowledge needed to be an effective part of the veterinary team, assisting veterinarians and veterinary nurses in clinical practice.

This programme focuses on the experience and knowledge needed to work in the exciting and rewarding animal health sector. You'll participate in small group tutorials, full class discussions and workshops.

You'll also undertake work placements at animal facilities and veterinary clinics, giving you a variety of hands-on experience. Your tutors will help you make the most of the opportunities available while assisting you to develop your communication skills.

Career opportunities

As a graduate of this programme you will have the skills to competently manage the day-to-day care of animals in a variety of situations such as kennels and catteries, rescue centres and pet sitting facilities. Depending on your interests, you could also find employment as an animal welfare worker, pet sitter, pet shop assistant, pet supplies sales representative or in the animal education industry.

Study pathways

Upon completing this programme, graduates are able to apply for the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. Graduates may also be able to receive credits from the Rural Animal Technician strand of the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology.

Recommended school subjects

  • Biology
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • English writing
  • Mathematics

Programme structure

To complete this Certificate you are required to complete 120 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • NCEA Level 2 (60 credits) including: 12 English credits at Level 2 and 12 Maths credits at Level 1 and 12 relevant Science credits at Level 1

    OR New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3).

    OR New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Level 4) with Companion Animal Strand.

    OR New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 3) Ara Animal Management/Veterinary Nursing Pathway or equivalent

    OR If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

Alternative requirements
  • Still want to study but don't meet the Academic Requirements?

    If you show that you have equivalent skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience, you may be able to gain alternative entry.

    Note: The number of courses you have to complete for this qualification may be reduced where you have relevant credits from previous study, or evidence of similar learning or experience in the workplace. Contact Ara for advice.

Additional requirements
  • In addition you need to:

    • provide a recent curriculum vitae demonstrating previous experience of working with animals and with contact details for two referees.
    • provide two referee reports:
      • one demonstrating previous experience working with animals including a minimum of 3 days observing in a veterinary clinic.
      • one demonstrating an aptitude for working with the public - a reference from an employer where the student has worked with the public (e.g. retail) or a reference from a teacher attesting to social skills.
    • be physically and mentally able to undertake manual work and handle companion animals including dissection of animal body parts, or dealing with body fluids and cadavers.
    • Consent to Disclosure of Information: Changes to government legislation may require police vetting for registration as a veterinary nurse after qualification. If you consider that this may be an issue we recommend you discuss it with a course tutor prior to entry. You can view the New Zealand Police Vetting Service (NZPVS) Request and Consent Form and see further information on the NZ Police Vetting Service on the New Zealand Police website.
    • you will be required to attend an interview if you meet academic entry.
English requirements
  • What if English is not my first Language?

    If English is not your first language, we want to make sure that you will be successful in your chosen programme of study. Please provide a result from a test or qualification on the acceptable alternatives English Proficiency Outcomes Chart .


    • If you are a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, complete an Admission and Enrolment form and Ara will contact you regarding a free assessment.
    • If you are not a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent resident, book an IELTS, Pearson or other test through the Ara Examination Centre or in your home country.

    IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS test report form and are valid for two years from the date of the test.

    What if I have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance?

    You do not need to provide additional evidence of English Language skills.










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Selection criteria

All applicants must meet academic entry criteria. They are then ranked and preference given based on their application and interview.

Next steps

To apply for this programme please:

  • complete an application form
  • provide two referee reports
  • provide a current CV

If you don't meet the criteria for entry into this programme, we can help you meet entry level with our foundation and bridging programmes.

Alternatively, if you feel you have gained your learning through on the job experience talk to us about recognition or assessment of prior learning .

Application documents

Credit recognition

If you have work experience in this area, or a relevant prior qualification, you may be eligible for credit recognition towards this qualification.