Skip Navigation LinksHomeProgrammesHealth & ScienceNew Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals)

New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals)

Level 3

Harness your love for animals and join the rewarding animal care industry with UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) Level 3.

Veterinary Nursing students work with a dog at our Palmerston North campus
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations: Palmerston North, Whanganui, Wairarapa

Duration: 6 months, full-time

24 Jul 2017 - 8 Dec 2017

Domestic Fees:*
$3,395.40Scholarship info

International Fees:*

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). Fees for multi-year programmes are for one year of study.

Gain the skills, knowledge and experience you need to maintain the welfare of companion animals such as cats, dogs, companion birds and rabbits. 

This programme will provide you with the qualification needed to comply with all regulatory requirements and relevant industry codes of practice for animal care, respond to normal and abnormal health and behaviour in animals and assist with the day to day care of animals.

Career & Study Outcomes

  • Pet stores
  • Animal rescue centres
  • Pet groomers
  • Boarding and training facilities
  • General pet owners
  • Animal recreation businesses
  • Or staircase to further study

Industry Connections

Vet clinics and the Veterinary Nursing Educational Standards Committee (VNESC)

Learning Facilities

Animal handling lab

Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1 (including 10 Literacy credits and 10 Numeracy credits)


Equivalent academic achievement


On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean

All applicants are required to:

  • Declare any previous criminal convictions prior to admission being confirmed. Convictions of any offence may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment; the decision is at the discretion of the Academic Leader; and
  • Authorise UCOL to obtain a background check from the New Zealand Police Licensing and Vetting Agency; and
  • Complete a health declaration form including tetanus status.

International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English language proficiency
International applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 5 with no band score lower than 5. UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. The English Proficiency test is accepted for English language entry into all UCOL programmes.

Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

Advice & Guidance

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) comprises 70 credits.

To optimise chances of student success, 100% attendance is strongly recommended. 

All students must be physically able to handle cats, dogs, rabbits and companion birds.

Recognition of Prior Learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met.

Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) of approximately $85.00:

  • Navy or black dress trousers (not jeans)
  • Covered shoes (eg sneakers)
  • Calculator
  • Stationery (pens, pencils, ruler, paper etc)

Course Information

  • Introduction to Animal Care 
  • Assist in Maintaining the Animal Facility
  • Applied Animal Behaviour, Husbandry, Handling and Welfare
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Assist with the Maintenance of Animal Health


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.