Veterinary Nursing Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) pathway

Are you currently a practicing veterinary nurse, veterinary nurse assistant or rural animal technician? Do you have 5-7 years’ experience and want your existing skills recognised? 

If you’ve regularly engaged with continuing professional development and training and are constantly reviewing your practices to identify opportunities for improvement, this could be the perfect option for you! 

You could gain academic recognition and a qualification for your knowledge and experience as a practicing professional. 

Qualifications available:  

What is Assessment of Prior Learning (APL)?

The School of Veterinary Nursing APL process centres around you and your career. We reflect on where you have come from, where you are now and where you want to head next. 

To achieve your chosen qualification, we’ll support you to:

  • identify early experiences and influences that have shaped you and how these relate to your working life as a veterinary nurse, veterinary nursing assistant or rural animal technician.
  • evaluate your work and life experiences and skills.
  • research relevant literature and reflect on how these have informed your practice and influenced your work.
  • complete in-depth case studies that evaluate key learning experiences from your work and align these with relevant literature.
  • identify and fill gaps in your knowledge or experience and apply new learning. 

A key part of this programme is those in-depth case studies where you evaluate your learning experiences from your veterinary nursing career and present an evidence portfolio to demonstrate how you meet the requirements of your chosen programme. 

On completion of your programme, you may be eligible to be added to the Register List held by the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association.

Entry requirements

  • 5-7 years of professional veterinary nurse practice experience.
  • Any academic records you have.  
  • A copy of your CV.
  • Online/telephone chat with a staff member from the School of Veterinary Nursing to determine your suitability for studying via the APL pathway (or to chat through further options for gaining your desired qualification).  

 For info about Covid-19 and placements, click here

Programme details 

New Zealand Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Level 6)
Fees Duration Level Start Delivery Workload  
May vary, please contact us for more info 12 months part-time 6  Monthly intakes (1st of the month) Distance/online learning 10-15 hours per week Apply now


Not sure if this is for you?

If you like the sound of the APL pathway but aren’t sure whether you have the required or relevant experience, please contact us. We’re happy to talk through your options.   


Phone 0800 762 786 (and ask for the School of Veterinary Nursing)


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.