Course Description

Learn to care for and manage the daily needs of animals with the ACM20110 Certificate II in Animal Studies.

This occupation may involve various tasks including holding animals to allow examination and treatment by Veterinarians; providing animal care advice to clients; and preparing, delivering, and reviewing animal care education programs.

This national recognised qualification can be studied as a pathway to vet nursing. According to the Job Outlook government website, employment for Animal Carers and Vet Nurses is expected to grow very strongly up until 2017. Animal carers are employed across several industries and the mix employing them is very favourable for employment growth prospects.

This course is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to work successfully in the animal care sector. This course is an entry level course which will act as a solid foundation for your learning.

Animal carers may undertake administration and clinic duties such as giving medications to animals; feeding, watering and examining animals; and may also act as receptionist, accept payments and undertake administration work.

Animal carers might care for animals under treatment and in temporary residence. The areas employing animal carers are varied. These might include veterinary facilities, animal hospitals, clinics, kennels, catteries, zoos, pet shops and grooming parlours. They may even assist veterinarians to perform procedures and operations.

This course is offered by Open Colleges on behalf of TAFE NSW North Region.

This course involves work placement that currently needs to be undertaken in Australia. More information available in our FAQs

Potential career outcomes

  • Animal Care Attendant
  • Assistant Dog Groomer
  • Cattery Attendant
  • Kennel Hand
  • Pet Shop Employee
Course number D0107
Qualification name ACM20110 Certificate II in Animal Studies
Course duration Maximum 12 months
Delivery Method Online with Work Placement
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Interviews, Logbook, Multiple choice questions, Practical assessments, Short-answer questions, Workplace portfolio
Awarded by
  • TAFE NSW North Region (Provider number: 90010)


You will need to have completed year 10, or equivalent. Equivalency can be demonstrated by one of the following:

  • A qualification at Certificate II level or higher OR
  • 2 years of industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 16 years old. If you are under 18 your enrolment form will need to be signed by a parent or guardian.


This course involves reading and undertaking a range of written assessments, as well as engaging in online forums and discussions. Furthermore, the delivery mode relies on the extensive use of written communication. As such, entry to the course requires the successful completion of English to Year 10 level.

If you haven't successfully completed English at Year 10 level, you can demonstrate equivalency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Nationally Recognised Training qualification at Certificate II level or higher; or
  • 2 years relevant industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication

Open Colleges recognises that not all people are able to read, write and perform calculations to the same standard. See the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Considerations section for more information on tools, resources and support services provided to by Open Colleges.


You will need access to a computer and the internet and have basic computing skills. Minimum specifications for your computer are:

  • Microsoft Office 2007 or equivalent
  • Broadband internet connection
  • 2GB of RAM
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Adobe Reader X or equivalent
  • Printer and scanner.

Specific requirements for Windows users:

  • Microsoft Windows XP or higher (Windows 7 or higher is recommended)
  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor (2GHz or faster recommended)
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher

Specific requirements for Mac OS users:

  • Mac OS X v 10.5 or higher (Mac OS X v 10.6 or higher is recommended
  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster Intel processor (2GHz or faster recommended)

Digital equipment

You will need access to:

  • A digital video recording device and/or a digital camera and associated software to save and upload video, image and audio files to OpenSpace. Many mobile phones and smart phones include this technology.
  • Software to view online videos and images. Software such as Adobe Reader, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Viewer etc. are available as a free download from the internet.

Physical requirements

Students will need to be reasonably physically fit to undertake the work placement as the tasks and activities associated with the work placement may involve manual lifting and other physical activities.

Video assessments

As part of the assessment for some units, you will be required to produce a video of yourself performing certain tasks. Some of these videos may involve another person.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Our free online assessment tool can help give you an idea of the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed to study a VET course. This tool can also help you determine your learning level and help you plan your future studies. You can access the Language, Literacy and Numeracy tool here.

Open Colleges may make changes to the course from time to time to reflect changes introduced to the relevant Training Package or other regulatory requirements. Please download the course guide for current information about the course and its status.

Note: Courses offered by Open Colleges on behalf of TAFE NSW North Region may include Units of Competency that are graded by TAFE NSW.

Introduction to the animal care industry

  • Plan and prepare to work safely
  • Conduct work safely
  • Participate in OHS consultative activities
  • Follow emergency response procedures
  • Follow routine spoken messages
  • Perform workplace duties following routine written notices
  • Obtain and provide information in response to workplace requirements
  • Complete relevant work-related documents
  • Participate in workplace meetings and discussions
  • Plan and prepare to work safely
  • Conduct work safely
  • Participate in OHS consultative activities
  • Follow emergency response procedures
  • Identify current resource use
  • Comply with environmental regulations
  • Seek opportunities to improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental hazards

Care for animals

  • Prepare for feeding
  • Feed and water animals
  • Complete the feeding and watering process
  • Confirm workplace animal care routine schedules
  • Check animals
  • Maintain a clean workplace
  • Complete hygiene practices for animals
  • Complete post-hygiene care of animals
  • Identify commonly available dogs
  • Identify and evaluate behavioural and housing needs
  • Handle and restrain dogs
  • Assist with health care needs
  • Feed dogs
  • Maintain records
  • Assist in capture of animals
  • Assist in assessment of animals
  • Assist in treatment of animals

Client and customer support

  • Assess the situation
  • Assist in assessment of animals
  • Complete reception services
  • Maintain office records
  • Provide basic animal care assistance
  • Maintain records
  • Identify information requirements
  • Provide information
  • Read and interpret product labels
  • Gather information on products and services
  • Profile nominated animal physiological features relevant to health and application of treatments
  • Take an animal history



What are my payment options?

Pay in full

If you pay your course fees up-front in full, you’ll benefit from a discount. When you pay in full, we don’t have to spend extra money on administration for tasks such as payment plan processing. Instead, we get to pass this saving onto you in the form of a discount.

ZipMoney Payment Plan

If you need a little more flexibility in your finances, and want to pay off your course fees over a longer period of time, you can switch to a zipMoney payment plan. Essentially, zipMoney pays your course fees for you, and you pay this loan back over 24, 36 or 48 months. As long as you are eligible, you can switch to a zipMoney plan at any time.

Payment Plan

Pay for you course in weekly or fortnightly instalments. By paying in instalments, you can schedule your payments around your regular outgoings and get ahead without breaking the bank. Open Colleges payment plans are interest-free.

Find out more

Amy Hope

Amy has worked as a veterinary nurse and taught puppy schools in busy general practices in regional Victoria. Whilst completing her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, she qualified with high distinctions receiving an award nomination for outstanding academic achievements. Discovering a passion for training, Amy gained her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to take on a new career in the vocational education sector. Amy enjoys encouraging nurses to learn new skills, enjoy their work, and take pride in their profession. Amy is a compassionate nurse, spending time volunteering across Thailand and will continue to do more during her career. 

Chris Hosking

Chris Hosking is the Program Manager for Animal Care. Since 2004 he has had experience working with native and exotic invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles’ birds, and mammals. From 2008 to 2014 Chris coordinated the Australian Museum’s Live Exhibits where he undertook animal management, staff training and developed content about the live displays for the Museum’s programs. Chris remains a member of the Australian Museum’s Animal Care and Ethics Committee and a member of the Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping. Chris has a Bachelor of Arts from Flinders University and Certificate IV in Captive Animals.

Dr Julia Etel

Julia graduated from the University of Sydney in 2002 and worked as a veterinarian on the south coast of NSW. In 2004 she completed a year long internship at the Animal Referral Hospital in Sydney. Here, she developed a passion for all things medical, emergency and soft tissue. She has lived in Coffs Harbour since 2005 practising as a small animal vet. In 2012 she become a part time trainer and assessor at TAFE and in 2014 began working with Open Colleges. Her most recent addition to the family is a RPSCA rescue kitten who is a fantastic personal assistant.

Dr Louisa Johnson

Dr Louisa Johnson graduated from the University of Melbourne Veterinary School in 2001 with first class Honours and the Payne Exhibition Prize for the highest marks in her final year. She has worked in various veterinary roles, including a canine blood bank, emergency clinic, rural and urban practice as well as overseas. Prior to becoming a vet, Louisa was employed as a veterinary nurse and now greatly enjoys being involved with Open Colleges, training and assessing veterinary nurses.

Fiona Kelly

Fiona’s career has taken many twists over the past 30 years. Working in hotel management, public relations, event production and finally education, Fiona decided to follow her passion for animals by gaining a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services. Now owning a dog training, grooming and pet care business and working as an in-house trainer/behaviourist at a Sydney veterinary hospital, Fiona is able to combine her ‘human’ training qualifications and experience with her passion for animals. Fiona is a qualified and accredited Delta positive dog trainer and an active member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) of Australia.

Lauri Steel

After seven years of veterinary nursing, Lauri changed her focus to the vocational training sector. She decided to follow her passion for training and educating up and coming veterinary nurses and animal carers. Lauri holds a variety of qualifications including a Cert II and III in Animal Studies, Cert III and IV in Companion Animal Services, Cert IV and Dip (ECC) in Veterinary Nursing, Cert IV in TAE and Diplomas in Vocational Education and Training, Training Design and Development, Business Admin, Management and Business.?

Meghann Beckley

Meghann is a surgical, anaesthesia and critical care veterinary nurse with 18 years’ experience at various specialist hospitals across Sydney. Being a mature age, online tertiary student herself, she has always been passionate about adult education, and is very excited to have joined the education sector. Her in-depth experience within the veterinary industry enables her to create and maintain relationships with animal-based organisations across Australia. She enjoys challenging herself mentally and physically, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Genetics and Biotechnology.

Robyn Bardsley

Robyn has principally worked as a Veterinary Nurse and as a Receptionist for 23 years. She undertook the Veterinary Nursing Certificate with Tamworth TAFE while working at the South Tamworth Animal Hospital Referral practice. Robyn worked at the Coffs Harbour Veterinary Hospital, and the Koala Hospital, moving further to the mid-north coast to the Macksville Veterinary Clinic. Throughout her working life, Robyn has undertaken numerous correspondence courses related to various disciplines

The course contains a minimum of 80 hours of work placement

The workplace will need provide a range of services to various animal species. These could include boarding (long or short term), grooming, sales of animals and animal products. The subject ‘Provide basic care of dogs’ will require you to have access to dogs in your workplace.

Examples of suitable workplace include veterinary practices, boarding facilities, grooming parlours, pet stores, kennels and catteries, zoos and animal welfare facilities.

Your work placement will need to be completed in Australia, and you will be responsible for the costs of any travel, accommodation, statutory checks or other requirements related to your work placement.

Open Colleges offers this qualification in association with TAFE NSW North Region (Provider number: 90010). The testamur will be issued by TAFE NSW North Region.

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