Veterinary nurse

Veterinary nurses support vets by caring for sick and injured animals.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter

to

£26,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on a rota

How to become a veterinary nurse

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in veterinary nursing accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level for a foundation degree 
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information

College

You can study full time for a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at college.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has a list of approved training organisations.

Entry requirements

You'll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths and science

More information

Apprenticeship

You can do a veterinary nursing advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths and science

More information

Volunteering and experience

You'll need some work experience before you start training. You could volunteer with a vet, a local kennel or animal welfare centre, or with animal charities like the PDSA or RSPCA.

More information

Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Veterinary Nursing Association for training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a veterinary nurse from the British Veterinary Nursing Association.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • speaking to animal owners to find out the problem
  • taking blood and urine samples from animals
  • taking x-rays
  • preparing animals for treatment and assisting vets during treatment
  • giving injections, medication and removing stitches
  • talking to pet owners about how to care for their animals
  • taking care of in-patient animals
  • supervising and helping to train other assistants
  • updating records

Working environment

You could work at a veterinary practice.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could take on more responsibility, like practice management, supervising and training new staff, or working in veterinary supplies.

You could also train to specialise in working for a zoological/wildlife park, charity, pharmaceutical company or breeding/boarding kennels.

With further study you could work towards becoming a lecturer or researcher.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Veterinary Nurse

  • Wage : £156.60 - £295.56 Weekly
  • Location: Stevenage SG2 9XH

Courses In England

City and Guilds Veterinary Nursing Diploma Small Animal 7457-03

  • Provider: Solihull College & University Centre
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Solihull

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