New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Level 3) (Companion Animals)
This programme is your first step towards an animal-related profession such as kennel and cattery management, pet grooming, wildlife management or education.
About the programme
Start here for a fulfilling career working with animals.
This programme will give you an entry-level animal care qualification. It will also give you a taste of the wider range of animal-related qualifications available and allow you to get a feel for tertiary study before attempting a higher-level qualification.
It’s also a great first step if you want to enter an animal-related profession such as SPCA work, pet shop work or kennel and cattery animal care.
There are three different focus areas to choose from – we will the offer Companion Animal focus in 2024. We hope to offer Rural and Equine strands from 2025.
In the Companion Animal focus, you'll learn about the health, welfare, husbandry, anatomy, physiology, and low-stress handling techniques for animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits and birds.
Once you’ve completed the first course, you’ll need to organise access to animal-related facilities such as boarding kennels or catteries so you can do your 40-hour work placement.
You will also need to attend regular online sessions during this programme (although compulsory, these are flexible, and you will be offered some options).
We know full-time study isn't always possible. Our one-year part-time study option only starts in February.
What You Study
Introduction To Professional Skills When Working With Companion Animals
|Introduction To Behaviour, Handling, And Transportation For Companion
|Introduction To Form, Function And Preventative Health For Companion
|Introduction To Husbandry For Companion Animals
|Companion Animals Practicum
Health and Safety
You will be given full training to minimise all programme-specific risks. Examples of risks associated with this programme are lifting, animal bites and scratches, zoonotic diseases, computers, chemicals, sharp instruments, electricity, fire, and mercury thermometers. We recommend that your tetanus injection status is up-to-date to attend work-placements and handle any animals in this programme.
Further study options
When you successfully finish this programme, you could study our one-year New Zealand Certificate in Animal Healthcare Assisting (Level 4) or the two-year New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing or New Zealand Diploma in Rural Animal Veterinary Technology to widen your career opportunities.
All study is highly-structured, guided and self-directed and you will need to have good time management skills. As a part-time student, you should typically aim for around 15 hours of study per week. A full-time student should typically aim for around 30-40 hours of study per week including work experience. You will be required to engage with the online resources and activities, and complete assessments and work placements.
Your work placements
You’ll need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of work placement time during this programme. These work placements must be sourced and managed by you.
You’ll need to organise access to animal-related facilities such as boarding kennels, catteries or regional SPCA’s (not veterinary clinics) once you have completed the first course. All work placements will ask to see a copy of your Criminal Convictions History report. This can be obtained free here.
Please note: Whilst you don't need to provide us with evidence of your Covid-19 vaccination status to study this programme, please be aware that some placement providers may ask you for this.
- All applicants for whom English or te reo Māori is not a first language need to provide evidence that they have the necessary English language proficiency required for the programme (the IELTS requirements is 5.0 with no band score lower than 5.0 from one test completed in the last two years, or equivalent).
- In addition, all applicants must complete a health declaration and declaration of any criminal conviction to ensure fitness to practice prior to acceptance into the programme. (Convictions of any offence may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment. Any decision is made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the delegated authority.)
Please note: This programme is not available to international students.
When you apply, you'll need to provide us with certified copies of proof of identity, academic records, and proof of residency (where appropriate).
Once your application is complete we will let you know whether you have been accepted via your application portal.
All enrolments will be contingent on your Criminal Convictions History. Convictions of any kind may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment. Any decision is made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the delegated authority.
- Optional shirt - $40 (approx.)
- Optional name badge - $15 (pin-back) or $18.50 (magnetic)
- Photocopy and printing costs for personal work and assessments
- Travel, accommodation (if required) and food costs associated with attendance at animal facility work placements
- Health and Safety require closed-in shoes
- You will also need access to a digital camera and a video camera/phone that can record video footage.
Student Services Fee
For most students, your tuition fee shown above includes a Student Services Fee – also known as the Student Levy. This compulsory fee covers your access to the student services we offer. This cost is tailored depending on how you're studying.
The tuition fees shown above are approximate only. There may be a slight fee increase per year once Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) rules and guidelines are applied. These fees also don’t include additional costs or living costs.
Domestic full-time students can apply for a student loan through Studylink.
Some support may be available for domestic part-time students.
Apply at the same time as you apply for your course (you can withdraw your application anytime).
Fees Free for domestic learners
If this is your first time doing tertiary study, or your first tertiary study was covered by the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship (TTAF) initiative, you may be able to get up to $12,000 of your fees covered for one year’s study or two years’ training.
All the details and criteria are on the Fees Free website and you can check whether you’re going to be able to access Fees Free by entering your National Student Number.
If you can access it, we’ll organise your fees with the Tertiary Education Commission when you’re enrolled to study with us. This funding doesn’t include additional costs or living costs.
When you click the blue apply button on the page, you'll be taken to our online application form.
If you have any questions about applying, please email email@example.com
We are part of Te Pūkenga
When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.
While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.