Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing

This City & Guilds course is designed for those working in veterinary practices. To apply to this course applicants must be working in a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) approved training practice. Upon successful completion of the qualification an individual can complete their enrolment with the RCVS and practice as a fully registered Veterinary Nurse in Northern Ireland.

Individuals will attend the college over a three year period and undertake a number of modules. During the three years students will be required to attend Greenmount Campus one day per week. Modules are assessed through online multiple choice examinations, written assignments, written exams and a Nursing Progress Log (NPL). The final assessed component of the course is clinical examinations (OSCE), which are currently taken at an assessment centre in England. Attendance at college is supported by employment in an approved veterinary practice throughout the course duration. Only when all components of the course are successfully completed are individuals eligible to join the Register of Veterinary Nurses. To become a registered Veterinary Nurse students must successfully complete both the clinical and college based components of the course.

Course content
Year 1 

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Operational requirements of a veterinary practice
  • Applied animal welfare, health and husbandry
  • Health and safety
  • Professional relationships and communication

Year 2 

  • Infection control
  • Applied nursing of sick small animals
  • Supporting the supply of veterinary medicines
  • Principles of supporting veterinary anaesthesia
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Veterinary nursing support for laboratory diagnostics
  • Supporting veterinary operating theatre practice

Year 3

  • Developing professional veterinary nursing practice
  • Practical monitoring of small animal anesthesia
  • Applied peri-operative equine/small animal nursing
  • Principles and practical veterinary nursing support for small animal patients
  • Veterinary nursing support for small animal emergency and critical care

When not attending college, individuals are employed in an approved veterinary practice during which time they work on completing their Nursing Progress Log (NPL) and developing practical veterinary nursing competence.

Progression opportunities and career destinations
This course provides individuals with the opportunity to progress onto a Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing.

Entry Requirements

Applicants at the time of entry to the course must:

  • Hold at least five GCSE passes at Grade C or above including English Language, Mathematics and a Science subject. If places are oversubscribed the minimum entry criteria may be enhanced and date of application may be considered;
  • Be at least 16 years old on or before 1st July in the year in which they wish to enrol;
  • Be employed in an approved veterinary practice. A list of current approved veterinary practices in Northern Ireland can be found by clicking here.
  • Applicants should also demonstrate that they have gained a minimum of three months or 400 hours experience of working in a veterinary practice before commencing the course.

Applicants will be allocated a place based on the points achieved at GCSE/Level 2 equivalents.

Further clarification on this course can be obtained from reading the Frequently asked questions or by emailing enquiries@cafre.ac.uk

Individuals will incur fees to cover registration and training.

How to apply

To apply for this course, complete the Level 3 Veterinary Nursing Application Form.

Key staff

Siobhan Sheppard

Siobhan Sheppard

Senior Adviser (Agriculture) Agriculture, Veterinary Nursing,
Greenmount Campus