Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing

VetSkill Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Companion Animal) 

This VetSkill Level 3 course is designed for those wishing to practice as a Veterinary Nurse registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Upon successful completion of the qualification an individual can complete their enrolment with the RCVS and practice as a fully Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN). To apply to this course applicants must be working in a CAFRE approved training practice.

Students will attend College over a 2 to 2 ½ year period and aim to gain full RCVS registration within 27 months. During this time students will be required to attend Greenmount campus 1 day per week. Modules are assessed through online multiple choice examinations, written assignments and an online e-portfolio of Clinical Skills. The final assessed component of the course is a clinical examination (OSCE), which is 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 employed period as a student nurse and the college based components of the course.

Course content
Year 1 

• VN01 Professional Veterinary Nursing Responsibilities;
• VN02 Diagnostic Principles;
• VN03 Principles of Veterinary Nursing Care 1;
• VN04 Pharmacology and Dispensary Management;
• VN05 Practical Veterinary Nursing Skills 1;

Year 2 

• VN06 Anaesthesia and Theatre Nursing Skills;
• VN07 Life Stage Nursing Care and Support;
• VN08 Principles of Veterinary Nursing Care 2;
• VN09 Surgical Nursing and Patient Care;
• VN10 Practical Veterinary Nursing Skills 2.


Embedded within this qualification is the content required for a Student Veterinary Nurse to become a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) for Companion Animals.

When not attending College, individuals are employed in an approved veterinary training practice during which time they work on completing their online e-portfolio of Clinical Skills and developing practical veterinary nursing competence. The course covers the cats, dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs.

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 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 enroll;

-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.

Students will incur fees to cover registration and training. Fees are £1400 (Excluding the cost to travel to GB for final Clinical examination). Applicants will be allocated a place based on the points achieved at GCSE/Level 2 equivalents.

International students

All international qualifications presented for entry must be officially translated into English with a notorised stamp.
International qualifications not taught and assessed in English may be acceptable provided they are supported by proof of competence in the English Language by holding IELTS at a minimum score of 6.0 or recognised equivalent.

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

How to apply

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

Key staff

Siobhan Sheppard

Siobhan Sheppard

Senior Lecturer (Agriculture)Veterinary Nursing,
Greenmount Campus