Veterinary nurse

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

Salary Range: £18,000 to £26,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
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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, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
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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), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
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You can do a veterinary nursing advanced apprenticeship.

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

  • equivalent entry requirements
  • guide to apprenticeships
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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

  • you’ll need to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

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.

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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:

  • pass enhanced background checks
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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 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.

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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.