VetSkill Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Companion Animal)

Course Information

Qualification Overview

This qualification will provide learners with the practical competence and underpinning knowledge required to join the RCVS Register of Veterinary Nurses.

It has been designed to develop Veterinary Nurses that have a holistic approach to their work, a passion for making a difference to the lives of animals, and a solid understanding of their professional responsibilities. It covers the following species: cat, dog, rabbit and guinea pig.

Qualification number: 603/3359/5
Level: 3
Credits: 240
Guided Learning Hours: 600
Total Qualification Time: 4200 hours

The operational end date for this qualification is 31 October 2022, please see our replacement qualification.

What will you learn?

How long will it take?

This Level 3 Diploma offers 240 credits and will usually be delivered as a 24 month programme.

You will undertake the following units:

  • 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
  • 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.


What are the entry requirements?

You must be at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C (or 9-4), including English Language, Mathematics and a Science subject to register as a Student Veterinary Nurse with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and start this programme. If you do not meet the GCSE requirement, there are alternative qualifications that may be acceptable, such as Level 2 Functional Skills in English and Maths being acceptable equivalents to GSCEs in English Language and Mathematics.

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 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in each individual element (or recognised equivalent). IELTS results over 2 years old will not be acceptable.


How is the qualification assessed?

Portfolio of Evidence

Throughout the two years, you will compile a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate the practical applications of learning in the workplace. Assessed by the Centre and externally sampled by VetSkill.


You will complete five assignments/case studies to demonstrate knowledge and understanding; two in year one and three in year two. All assignments are marked by the Centre.

Multiple-Choice Online Examinations

There are seven online examinations throughout the qualification that assess underpinning knowledge; four in year one and three in year two. Examinations are set and marked by VetSkill.

Year 1 Practical Skills Assessment (Formative)

You will be given one scenario which includes six tasks. The practical skills assessment is set by VetSkill but is carried out in, and marked by, the Centre.

Year 2 VetSkill Licence to Practise Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

Once all other assessments have been passed, learners will undertake the VetSkill Licence to Practise OSCE consisting of 12 stations, each lasting 8 minutes, including 2 minutes reading and preparation time.


Where can you study?

The following Centres are currently approved to offer the VetSkill Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Companion Animal):

Askham Bryan College

Bath College

Bridgwater and Taunton College

Chester Veterinary Training Centre

City and Islington College

College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE)

The College of Animal Welfare

Dick White Academy

Kent School of Veterinary Nursing


MYF Training Ltd

North West Regional College

Northumberland College

Reaseheath College

The Cornwall College Group

The Sheffield College

Solihull College and University Centre

South Staffordshire College

Sparsholt College

Warwickshire College

Writtle University College