Te Kura Oraka Kararehe | School of Animal Health

Assessment of Prior Learning

With the Assessment of Prior Learning pathway, you can get a recognized qualification from NZQA based on your industry experience.

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What is Assessment of Prior Learning (APL)?

If you’ve regularly engaged with continuing professional development and training, and are constantly reviewing your practices to identify opportunities for improvement, you could gain academic recognition and a qualification for your knowledge and experience.

The School of Animal Health 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.

Available qualifications

Veterinary nursing:

Please note: APL is not currently available for the New Zealand Diploma in Rural Animal Veterinary Technology (Level 6). We expect to offer APL as an option for this programme from 2025.

Pet grooming:

What does the process involve? 

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 career and present an evidence portfolio to demonstrate how you meet the requirements of your chosen programme.

For vet nursing programmes, you may be eligible to be added to the New Zealand Register of Veterinary Nurses, Technicians, and Allied Professionals held by Allied Veterinary Professional Regulatory Council.

Entry requirements

Veterinary Nursing
  • 5-7 years of full-time professional veterinary nurse or large animal vet technician practice experience.
  • Any academic records you have.
  • A copy of your CV.
  • Online/telephone chat with a staff member from the School of Animal Health to determine your suitability for studying via the APL pathway (or to chat through further options for gaining your desired qualification).
Pet grooming
  • 5 or more years of professional pet grooming experience.
  • Relevant academic records (if any).
  • A copy of your CV.
  • Please email us at animalhealth@op.ac.nz with all the information mentioned above. We will then schedule a time for you to talk with our APL team and determine if this process is suitable for you.

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.

Email animalhealth@op.ac.nz or call us at 0800 762 786 (and ask for the School of Animal Health). 

Contact us

If you want to know more about what we offer or you would like some guidance, we’re here to help. Feel free to chat to us directly about any questions you may have.