Course Description

During your studies you will learn about the daily care of captive animals, including how to interact, monitor and observe them, as well as how to ensure their safety. So whether you aim to work in a zoo, Wildlife Park, mobile zoo, theme park or aquarium, this nationally recognised Certificate III in Captive Animals will provide you with both the theoretical and practical expertise to do so.

Studying the course online through the virtual campus, Open Space, you are able to learn at your own pace and in your own time. Open Space also gives you the ability to meet and connect with other students, as well as your trainers and assessors.

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 Zoo Keeper
  • Trainee Zoo Keeper
  • Wildlife Animal Carer
Course number E1103
Qualification name ACM30310 Certificate III in Captive Animals
Course duration Maximum 24 months
Delivery Method Online with Work Placement
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Case studies, Projects, Scenario-based questions, Short-answer questions, Workplace assessments, Written reports
Awarded by
  • TAFE NSW North Region (Provider number: 90010)


Pathways for prospective learners considering this qualification include:

  • Direct entry

  • After achieving ACM20110 Certificate II in Animal Studies

  • Vocational training and/or work experience across a range of work settings.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 18 years old.


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:

All users:

  • Microsoft Office 2010 or equivalent
  • Broadband internet connection
  • 2GB of RAM
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Adobe Reader XI or equivalent
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher.
  • Access to printer and associated software
  • Access to scanner and associated software
  • Digital imaging software
  • File compression software.

Windows users:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or higher (Windows 8 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Mac OS users:

  • Mac OSX v10.5 or higher (Mac OSX v10.6 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz 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.


To successfully complete this course, you will require basic computing skills. This includes:

  • Creating, saving and editing Microsoft Office documents
  • Accessing and searching the internet
  • Downloading and saving documents from websites
  • Uploading documents through websites
  • Participating in online discussions
  • Compressing image files
  • Recording, compressing and uploading videos.

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.

Module 1

  • Work effectively within a captive animal facility 
  • Comply with captive animal interaction policies and procedures
  • Identify and handle animals humanely
  • Communicate effectively

Module 2

  • Prepare housing appropriate to a particular species
  • Implement animal housing maintenance routines
  • Maintain enclosure hygiene and appearance

Module 3

  • Plan the capture and restraint of animals
  • Capture and restrain animals
  • Assist with animal transportation requirements

Module 4

  • Follow animal  health management practices
  • Monitor and maintain the physical wellbeing of animals
  • Identify and report signs of ill health or injury in animals
  • Administer and record animal treatments

Module 5

  • Observe and record animal behaviour
  • Assist with managing undesirable animal behaviour 
  • Implement enrichment programs 

Module 6

  • Identify nutritional requirements  of animals
  • Evaluate food sources and calculate dietary requirements
  • Prepare diets and provide food and water
  • Monitor feeding and watering practices

Module 7

  • Follow infection control guidelines
  • Identify and respond to infection risks
  • Maintain personal protection
  • Limit contamination
  • Contribute to incursion readiness processes

Module 8

  • Plan and conduct work safely
  • Support others in working safely
  • Contribute to OHS participative processes
  • Contribute to hazard identification, OHS risk assessment and risk control activities
  • Participate in the control of OHS emergency situations

Module 9

  • Identify current resource use
  • Comply with environmental regulations
  • Seek opportunities to improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental hazards

Module 1011: Electives

Select two (2) electives

  • Assess exhibit status
  • Contribute to exhibit design and renovation planning
  • Identify commonly available native mammals
  • Identify and evaluate behavioural and housing needs
  • Catch, handle and restrain native mammals
  • Assist with health care needs
  • Feed native mammals
  • Maintain records
  • Identify commonly available reptiles
  • Identify and evaluate behavioural and housing needs
  • Approach and handle reptiles
  • Assist with health care needs
  • Feed and water reptiles
  • Maintain records
  • Develop a conditioning plan
  • Condition a behaviour
  • Monitor and review a conditioning plan

Module 12

  • Facilitate reproduction
  • Monitor breeding animals during the period of reproduction
  • Prepare and assist with birth or hatching


Module 13

  • Identify and assist with animal care needs
  • Monitor health and nutrition requirements for young animals

Module 14

  • Write institutional husbandry guidelines
  • Review and maintain husbandry guidelines

Module 15

  • Identify animal keeping information systems and software
  • Identify, collect, record and interpret data
  • Assist with collection management 
  • Interpret population management practices and principles

Module 16

  • Prepare a presentation
  • Conduct presentation
  • Participate in other interpretive and learning activities
  • Assist in media presentations 



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

Work Placement

Open Colleges has a work placement partnership with these organisation(s):

Zambi Wildlife Retreat is Australia's first and only animal welfare establishment that can rescue, rehabilitate, re-home and offer shelter to a wide range of species such as exotic animals needing retirement from zoo breeding programs, circus and private ownership and domestics, farm animals and native wildlife. 


This course is endorsed by:

Zambi Wildlife Retreat is Australia's first and only animal welfare establishment that can rescue, rehabilitate, re-home and offer shelter to a wide range of species such as exotic animals needing retirement from zoo breeding programs, circus and private ownership and domestics, farm animals and native wildlife. 

The course contains a minimum of 100 hours of work placement

The workplace will need to be licensed according to your state/territory requirements and provide access to a range of animals, more specifically at least one species from the at least two of the six major animal groups OR at least three breeds from within one of the six major animal groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates). Captive animal facilities which could offer this include:

  • Aquaria
  • Fauna parks
  • Mobile zoos
  • Theme parks
  • Wildlife care and rehabilitation facilities
  • Wildlife parks
  • Zoological parks.

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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Weekly and fortnightly payment plans are also available when you pay online.

Click Enrol Now and choose a payment plan or call an Education Advisor on 1300 161 345 for more details.