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How to become a veterinary nurse in Australia: careers in animal care

How to become a veterinary nurse in Australia: careers in animal care
Providing assistance to qualified veterinarians, veterinary nurses play an important role in animal health care in Australia. They ensure the day-to-day operations of veterinary practices run smoothly and that pets and other animals are cared for. Veterinary nurses carry out a range of tasks from providing medication to animals, sterilising surgical equipment and assisting with administration tasks in the practice.

Being a veterinary nurse: daily duties

Veterinary nurses can find themselves doing a range of different tasks on a daily basis, depending on the practice they work in and the types of animals they are caring for on any given day. Generally they administer medications to animals under the supervision of a veterinarian, stock medical supplies, maintain and sterilise equipment, keep medical records up-to-date and provide assistance during consultations.


  • Assist veterinarians
  • Maintain and sterilise equipment
  • Administer medications
  • Keep supplies stocked
  • Administrative duties

Being a veterinary nurse: skills for success

A genuine love and caring for animals is essential in this role, as well as empathy, compassion and patience. Excellent communication skills are also needed as veterinary nurses have to communicate with vets and pet owners, often in stressful circumstances. The ability to remain calm and work in a high-pressure environment, while also managing competing demands and priorities is also necessary.
  • Love of animals
  • Ability to multitask
  • Sound communication skills
  • Remain calm in stressful situations
  • Ability to prioritise work

Specialised roles within animals

Veterinary nursing can form a sound base of skills and experience to expand into other roles in the animal care industry. Vet nurse can choose to specialise in a number of different fields or find work in a variety of contexts
  • Animal trainer
    Utilising specialist knowledge in handling animals, animal trainers work with a variety of different animals and are experts in behavioural correction or training animals for a specific purpose, such as guide dogs or assistance dogs.
  • Veterinarian
    Combine work experience with extra study credentials to become a fully qualified veterinarian, being the highest medical authority within a veterinary practice.
  • Zookeeper
    Zookeepers manage zoo animals that are either kept in captivity for conservation or to be displayed to the public. They are responsible for the feeding and daily care of the animals.

Educational pathways for veterinary nurses

Qualifications, traineeships and on-the-job experience are the best ways to get a start in the animal care industry.
  • Start your career
    Find a course to equip you with the skills you need to get a start in the animal care industry.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Targeted study options will help you to develop industry-specific skills.
  • Build your resume
    Hone your abilities by combining your qualifications with workplace experience.
  • Industry requirements
    Improve your networking opportunities by applying for membership with the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your animal care career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Job openings for veterinary nurses are forecast to be low over the next few years, however the skills a veterinary nurse has open up potential career paths in similar roles in the animal care industry.

Resources for Veterinary nurses

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