Apprenticeship for Veterinary Care Assistants

This programme has been designed to provide those working in a veterinary environment in supporting roles the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge to progress within the industry.  The apprenticeship has been developed for those who are not registered veterinary nurses or student veterinary nurses, but who are in contact with the animals in veterinary environments, which could be a veterinary practice or a veterinary clinic in an animal welfare establishment. The intermediate apprenticeship for Veterinary Care Assistants also provides a progression route for those wanting to develop their skills and knowledge further and apply to enrol and train to become a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Entry Requirements

To undertake an intermediate apprenticeship you must be employed in an veterinary care assistant job for a minimum of 30 hours per week.  If you already have a job, and your employer agrees, you can join an apprenticeship.  If you are seeking employment as a veterinary care assistant you can find your own Employer or apply for a job through the apprenticeship vacancies service.   All apprentices need to have contract of employment and earn at least the the national minimum wage for apprentices.  You must have a love of animals and a genuine commitment to ensuring their health and welfare.

There are no specific entry requirements to enter the intermediate apprenticeship for Veterinary Care Assistants, however, there are qualifications or experience that will help learners understand the sector prior to starting, including:

  • Voluntary experience within the animal care industry
  • Have previously worked in, or are currently working within the industry
  • Level 1 Diploma in Animal Care/Work-based Animal Care
  • Level 1 Award/Certificate  in Practical Small Animal Skills
  • GCSEs/A levels

Opportunities to complete the Intermediate Apprenticeship for Veterinary Care Assistants also exist for adult learners who have experience within the veterinary care industry or who are looking for a career change.

Length of Course/Start Date

The course normally lasts 15 months.  You can start the programme at any time of the year.

Contents of the programme

On the intermediate apprenticeship for veterinary care assistants you will study for the following qualifications:

  • City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma for Veterinary Care Assistants
  • Functional Skills in English and Maths at Level 1.

Other non-certificates components of the programme include:

  • Induction to apprenticeship
  • Employment Rights and Responsibilities
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills
  • Be Safe! (health and safety)

As veterinary nursing assistant you will help with the care of animals under the direction or supervision of a veterinary surgeon.  This will include cleaning, feeding, handling and grooming.  There will usually also be some client care and reception duties.


You will need to undertake an induction (introduction) to apprenticeship, either at Badgehurst Training Ltd.’s Centre or your Employer’s premises.  After then you will attend on a day-release basis, with preparation for tests and completion of assignments set as homework.  The course covers three different modules, including principles and practices of animal handling and care, principles and practices of assisting with care and administrative duties in the veterinary environment. You may need to attend additional sessions for functional skills in maths and English, depending on your levels of achievement in these areas.  Your will further develop your skills and knowledge through on-job training in the work place.  One of our Training Officers will visit you regularly in your work place to provide support, deliver training, set targets and carry out assessment.


There are a range of assessment methods used on  this programme, including observation of practical performance (in the workplace), questioning, assignments, case studies, witness statements, tasks and tests.

Progression and Employment Opportunities

Once you have completed the Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship, Apprentices may be able to progress to become a student veterinary nurse, subject to meeting the enrolment requirements set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for student veterinary nurses.  Opportunities for progression may be:

Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (small animal or equine)

Advanced Apprenticeship in Veterinary Nursing

Advanced Apprenticeship in Animal Care

Typical jobs open to people who have completed the intermediate apprenticeship for veterinary care assistant will include veterinary care assistant, animal nursing assistant, veterinary receptionist, animal care assistant.