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New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing

Level 6

Prepare for a career as a veterinary nursing professional in UCOL’s New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing.

Dog sitting on a table with students
Quick info

Level: 6

Locations: Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year, full-time

19 Feb 2018 - 30 Nov 2018
23 Jul 2018 - 28 Jun 2019

Domestic Fees:*
$6,274.00Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

Being a veterinary nurse is a hands-on, satisfying role. You’ll care for all kinds of companion animals, work as a team with other professionals and solve problems.

UCOL’s New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing will provide you with the technical skills, knowledge and attributes needed to help animals attain, maintain or recover optimal health and quality of life. 

 Career & Study Outcomes

Graduates of this qualification will have technical veterinary nursing skills for a clinic environment and the ability to manage patients and clients and follow protocols in all aspects of clinical veterinary practice.

 Course Information

  • Anaesthesia and Surgery
  • Diagnostics 
  • Medical Nursing
  • Management of Veterinary Nursing Services

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Industry Connections

  • Local vet clinics
  • Veterinary Nursing Educational Standards Committee (VNESC)

 Learning Facilities

Animal handling lab.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

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.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

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

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS Academic (or equivalent including TOEFL) score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5. UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre. ). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).

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 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing comprises 120 credits.

To optimise chances of student success, 100% attendance is required for all practical classes and work placements.  It is also strongly recommended for all theory classes. 

Practical requirements: students must be able to carry out physical activities within the Animal Room and work placement to fulfil the requirements of the programme. Students must also have no objection to working with animals, dissection of animal body parts, body fluids and cadavers. UCOL reserves the right to decline entry to the programme should an applicant’s physical ability or squeamishness prevent them carrying out practical activities required to fulfil the requirements of the programme. These practical requirements will be discussed and confirmed by staff when contacting students.

Clinical placements
All learners are required to complete work placements of at least 280 hours in a veterinary clinic setting.  It is likely the placement will be out of the Manawatū region. Out-of-region placements are sourced by the student in consultation with the Programme Leader. Highest priority for local placement are students who are solo parents of children under the age of 5. Not having a car, drivers licence or having work commitments or animals to care for is not sufficient to be considered priority for local placement.  This means that you are very likely to be required undertake your clinical placement outside the wider Manawatu region therefore you will have additional costs relating to your travel and accommodation.
Transport costs will vary according to the mode of transport and may include public transport, private car usage, and carpooling. An example of an approximate cost of petrol in a 1600cc car over 180 kilometres over five days could cost up to $80.00 or more. 
Accommodation fees 
These vary according to the types of accommodation used. Backpackers, Homestays, Student Hostels can be in the range of $50.00 - $120.00 per night. 

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.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

Previous related programmes

The New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:
  • Diploma in Veterinary Nursing

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing of approximately $95.00:

  • Watch for taking heart rates
  • Small scissors
  • Stethoscope
You may also require:
  • Protective overalls 
  • Plain, dark coloured, long-sleeve top
  • Gumboots
  • Navy or black trousers
  • Calculator


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.