New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology (Level 5) (Rural Animal Technician)
Gain the skills to become a Rural Veterinary Technician, working with larger farm animals such as cows, sheep, horses and pigs. You’ll learn how to manage client education and understand veterinary practice management. You will have access to first-rate facilities and a range of rural veterinary equipment including a well-resourced training laboratory and simulation models.
There are some exciting changes coming to our Animal Healthcare and Veterinary Nursing programmes in 2023. Updated programme information will be added as soon as possible. To chat about the best options for you or for further information, please email email@example.com
About the programme
Enjoy working on the farm and in a rural veterinary practice environment?
This programme gives you the skills to be a veterinary technician working with large animals. You’d mainly work with dairy cattle but also with sheep, horses, deer and lifestyle animals.
You’ll gain the technical skills you need to independently carry out a number of tasks in the rural veterinary practice and become skilled at handling a range of rural animal species.
You will learn how to:
- take care of animal patients with conditions such as lameness and mastitis,
- take and process diagnostics samples,
- manage disease and parasite prevention strategies, and
- assist with reproduction medicine including metri-checking, disbudding and rearing.
In addition, you’ll develop your communication skills, understand the importance of professionalism and team fit, be able to manage client education and understand rural veterinary practice management.
You'll study online with a four-day block course in Dunedin or Wairarapa and 240 hours of work experience.
Benefit from first-rate block course facilities and a range of rural veterinary equipment, including a well-resourced training laboratory, simulation models and farm visits where animal handling takes place.
We know full-time study isn't always possible. We also offer this programme part-time over two years.
What You Study
As a rural animal technician, your skills will be in high demand throughout New Zealand in rural and mixed animal practices to work alongside veterinarians in our primary agricultural produce industry ensuring optimal animal health and welfare of our production animal species. There are also opportunities to work alongside lifestyle block owners to help them maintain optimal stock health and welfare.
This programme will be divided into eight, 15-credit courses. The first course will be a pre-requisite for the remaining courses (any other prerequisites to be advised).
Your work placements
During your study you will complete 240 hours of work placement – 40 hours on a farm and 200 hours in a Rural Animal Veterinary Clinic. You will need to arrange your own work placements.
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, radiation from x-rays, anaesthetic gases, chemicals and drugs, UV radiation, sharp instruments, electricity, fire, gas cylinders and mercury thermometers.
You will be required to advise us of your tetanus injection status if you have not been previously enrolled with us, to ensure you are safe to handle any animals in this programme.
Further study options
Pursue further study and increase your career options with the New Zealand Certificate in Animal Technology Veterinary Nursing Assistant and/or the New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing. Adding companion animal training in the form for veterinary nursing assistant or veterinary nursing offers opportunities to be versatile in mixed animal practice, working with a wider range of species. This qualification also provides the perfect stepping stone into more advanced training in rural animal procedures such as artificial insemination and TB testing.
All study is structured but self-directed and, in a typical week you should aim for around 35-40 hours of study as a full time student, or 15-20 hours as a part time student, including work experience.
Assessment due dates are spread throughout the year and a timetable for the year is provided at the start of the programme.
You have a choice of two block course venues either in Dunedin or in the Wairarapa. Some of the block course sessions require travel to farms/veterinary clinics at a distance away from the Otago Polytechnic campus.
We're a leader in the provision of online education. You'll learn via online facilitated teaching sessions and discussion forums, as well as having access to online course resources and activities (written, audio and video).
Help is always on hand through our extensive support systems which include:
- One-on-one tutor support
- IT support.
Skills required to work in this area
- A genuine interest in rural animal species
- Good communication and computer skills
- The ability to handle stressful emergency situations
- The ability to work well in a team
- To be sensible and highly motivated.
This programme is not available to international students.
Academic entry requirements
- 60 credits at NCEA Level 2, with a minimum of:
- 12 credits in English at Level 2, and
- 12 credits in Maths at Level 1, and
- 12 credits in Science at Level 1
- OR equivalent
- OR New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) (Level 3) or the National Certificate in Animal Care (Level 2) or equivalent
- OR evidence of meeting Step 5 Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, Assessment Tool.
- For those 20 and over - you will have an interview to figure out the best pathway for you to maximise your success.
You must be able to demonstrate previous experience of working with animals and an aptitude for work with the public and must provide:
- Evidence of at least three or more days observing the role veterinarians and veterinary nurses undertake in a rural animal veterinary clinic.**
Please note: If you are struggling with this requirement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can have a chat with you.
- Evidence/reference demonstrating an aptitude for working with the public for instance from an employer, teacher, manager or a volunteer organisation. Download the Referee report here.**
- Declaration of Health and Tetanus Status.**
- Convictions Declaration – enrolment will be contingent on the status of this history report.
You will need to supply a Convictions Declaration (via the Ministry of Justice), which is 6 months old or less, before the start date of your programme if you are a NEW student to the School of Veterinary Nursing.
If you have studied with us in the last calendar year, have previously supplied us with a convictions declaration and are returning to the School of Veterinary Nursing for further study, you will only need to make a declaration (click here) stating your history hasn’t changed since the previous report.
- Evidence of veterinary clinic to support practical components of the programme
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.
You can enter information and upload documents directly into the application form. You may wish to prepare some of the required documentation beforehand. To begin your application, click the Apply button at the top of this page.
**Once your application has been received, if successful you will be sent a Conditional Offer into the programme. In this offer there will be a link provided to some templates to enable you to provide evidence of your three day observation and work placement.
Please note: You must also have access to a computer, camera, video and the internet to be able to study this programme.
English Language requirements
- If English is not your first language, you must provide:
- New Zealand University Entrance OR
- Overall Academic IELTS 6.0 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years)
- Reading band 5.5
- Writing band 6.0
- Speaking band 6.0
- Listening band 5.5, OR
- Acceptable alternative evidence of the required IELTS (see here for NZQA proficiency table and here for list of recognised proficiency tests).
If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.
All applicants are advised within ten working days of receipt of their application whether they have been accepted.
Want your existing skills recognised?
If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area (5-7 years), you could gain this qualification through our Assessment of Prior Learning Pathway (APL). This option enables you to study part-time online, to evaluate your veterinary nursing career and to present a portfolio of evidence to show how you meet the requirements of the qualification.
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.
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.
- Required texts - $200 (approx.)
- Photocopy and printing costs for personal work and assessments
- Travel, accommodation and food costs associated with attendance at block courses and work placement
- Access to a video camera/phone that can record video footage.
If you are not already employed in a suitable veterinary practice or you have not previously studied with us, you may need to purchase the following:
- Stethoscope - $20
- Closed-in shoes - $100 (approx.)
- Shirt - $50
- Overalls - $80
- Name badge - $15
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).
A change for 2023 enrolments
When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, 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. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that 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.