How To Get A Veterinary Nursing Apprenticeship

vets and a doberman

How to get a veterinary nursing apprenticeship? Honestly, there’s no straight answer to this question since there are several variables to look into. However, if you have some information in hand, you would be able to answer the question yourself. In this article, we provide you the information.

Intro to a Veterinary Nurse Apprenticeship

It’s hard to find out how to get a veterinary nursing apprenticeship if you don’t have a basic idea of what the apprenticeship truly is. A veterinary nurse apprenticeship is essentially the first step you take to become a veterinary nurse. A veterinary nurse is someone who has the knowledge and expertise to keep domestic pets healthy. The nurse’s skills not just help the farmers protect their livestock, but also the money put into the herds and flocks.

An apprenticeship would invariably begin with a position in vet surgery, covering basics such as how to correctly handle small animals, in addition to gaining the experience of having observed a real surgery at a close distance. The apprenticeship course is designed to help you become confident or comfortable around animals. The qualifications gained after course completion could vary based on the institute, your location, and the practical work performed.

Course Elements

Though an apprenticeship, the course is fairly intensive. It’s a blend of practical assignments, theory, clinical practice and examinations. The topics you would likely study are veterinary practice’s operational requirements, communication and professional relationships, applied animal welfare, comparative functional anatomy, infection control, health and husbandry, caring for hospitalized animals, supporting veterinary medicine supply, diagnostic imaging support, laboratory diagnostics, supporting veterinary anesthesia, operating theater practice, peri-operative support, critical care and emergency and professional registration preparation, etc.

Like most apprenticeship programs, a lot of practical lessons and assignments would be part of the course. Several case studies would be looked into as well. Not to mention, a good amount of theory would be added to the mix too. By the end of the course, you would have completed a great deal of practical and theoretical assignments, and also sat through quite a few course examinations.

Apprenticeship Types

A veterinary nursing apprenticeship could be basic or advanced. In the basic course, you’ll get a general overview of things. In other words, you would learn the basic functionalities of animals, their diseases and infections, treatments and remedies, etc. You won’t be getting into the details of things just yet, however. In advanced internships, your training would be more narrowed-down. You may end up focusing on a specific animal or species family.

Apprenticeship Benefits

Veterinary nursing is an ideal career choice if you like animals and would want to care more for them in the right manner. And an apprenticeship is a great way to get things started in that regard. During the course, you may come across animal species you’ve never seen in person or heard of before. An apprenticeship provides you the experience and also work placements.

Course Experience

As a veterinary nursing apprentice, you would have to put in quite a bit of hard work and exhibit great levels of commitment. Like aforementioned, you should be extremely passionate about the field. As an apprentice, you may expect to have different learning experiences every day.

The tasks that you would be likely involved in are

• Preparing animals for medical procedure(s) and performing small surgical operations
• Overseeing supervised animals
• Nursing and administering medication to sick animals
• Taking X-rays and performing diagnostic tests
• Advising pet owners on their pets’ health and welfare
• Making bookings, taking payments and completing required paperwork
• Operating nurse clinics like worming, diet and grooming consultations

The majority of this learning would take place in an approved veterinary practice center or hospital, making the learning close to the real thing.

Difference Between a Veterinary Student and Veterinary Nursing Apprentice

Most people interchangeably use the terms ‘student’ and ‘apprentice’. Though both roles entail tremendous amount of learning, an apprentice usually gets paid too since he is expected to work for a certain number of hours per week. A student, on the other hand, is not expected to take up any real-world work. However, there are instances when an apprentice works for zero pay. This is usually the case with apprenticeships in reputed institutions that are known for the quality of training they impart to their patrons. After course completion, a student gets a qualification certificate and he may or may not take up an apprenticeship thereafter. An apprentice gets an apprenticeship completion certificate, which could also be considered a form of work experience.

Applying for an Apprenticeship

To get a veterinary nursing apprenticeship, you must apply for the same. And the application process is quite straightforward. Generally, most veterinary hospitals work in tandem with various veterinary colleges to fill up the apprentice vacancies. You therefore would have to find these colleges that have a tie-up of sorts with veterinary hospitals and get through them to secure an apprenticeship. Hospitals seeking apprentices usually seek individuals who are passionate about animals and don’t mind getting their hands dirty while taking care of animals or treating them.

Besides the interest and passion, veterinary hospitals expect their apprentices to have certain qualifications, such as:

• The individual applying for an apprenticeship should be eligible to work in the particular country.
• The applicant should not hold any advanced veterinary degree or qualification that’s superior than the apprenticeship program in terms of recognition and scope.
• The person should meet the standard needed – the test for which is held during the process of recruitment.


An apprenticeship is basically designed to expand your knowledge and also stretch your limits a great deal, pushing you into domains you may not have any prior exposure to. This is the stage you would probably toil the most. If you manage to take all the hardship in the right spirit, you would come out a winner. Ultimately, you would realize your true potential as an animal care professional and also get a clear idea about whether veterinary nursing is truly the right career for you.