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Veterinary nurse

Alternative titles for this job include

Veterinary nurses support vets in the treatment and care of sick and injured animals.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£31,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Veterinary nurse

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship


You can do a foundation degree or degree in veterinary nursing. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has a list of accredited courses.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree

More Information


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

You'll spend some time in the classroom and periods of training on placement in a veterinary practice.

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

Entry requirements

You'll need:

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

More Information


You can begin your career by doing a Veterinary Nurse Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.

The training takes up to 3 years to complete.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More Information


You could get some work experience with a vet, local kennels or animal welfare centre before you start training. You could also try animal charities like the PDSA or RSPCA.

More Information


Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

You can learn more about how to become a veterinary nurse from the British Veterinary Nursing Association.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of biology
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a veterinary nurse, you could:

  • prepare animals for treatment and assist vets during procedures
  • take X-rays, give injections and medication, and remove stitches
  • care for in-patient animals
  • keep the practice and equipment clean and hygienic
  • talk to pet owners about treatment and care of their animals
  • do reception and administrative duties

Working environment

You could work at a veterinary practice or at an animal welfare centre.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could:

  • work as a supervisor or mentor new staff
  • manage a practice
  • move to a larger veterinary hospital
  • lecture in veterinary nursing science

You might also move into zoo or wildlife park work or sales of veterinary supplies.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Veterinary Nurse Apprentice

  • Wage: £13,312 to £23,795.20 a year Annually
  • Location: Highbridge Retail Park, Highbridge St, Waltham Abbey

Courses In England

Diploma for Veterinary Nursing Assistants

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Liverpool

Level 3 Veterinary Nursing

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Gateshead

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