Veterinary Nursing (Small Animal) Level 3 Work-based Diploma SCQF 6

What is special about this course?

This qualification suits those who wish to qualify and register with the RCVS as a Registered Veterinary Nurse. It provides an opportunity to achieve a recognised national qualification that reflects the national and regulatory standards required for this role. The qualification is designed to enable learners to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to support their role, and develop their career in veterinary nursing of small animals. You will spend time studying online via our Brightspace platform and will also attend our state of the art practical training suite at our Rural Studies Centre in Halkirk for expert practical tuition from our experienced Registered Veterinary Nurses in Years 1, 2 and 3. Placement in an approved training practice is required to undertake the course. Assistance will be given to successful applicants looking to secure a placement.



Entry requirements

  • Applicants should be at least 16 years of age with a reasonably high standard of physical fitness
  • Have Maths, English, a science subject and two other qualifications at:
    • GCSE Grades A-C OR 
    • Scottish Intermediate 2 C or above OR
    • National 5 or above OR
    • a Standard Grade at level 1 or 2 or above


  • Satisfactory completion of Level 2 Diploma VCA at Merit Grade or above and evidence of Maths and English at National 5 Grade A-C or above.
  • Applicants must have recent work experience of at least 10 days in a small animal veterinary practice working alongside Registered Veterinary Nurses
  • Satisfactory interview

Learners undertaking this qualification will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and the skills required for veterinary nursing of small animals.

The qualification aims to assess the Learner’s knowledge and understanding of:

• Animal husbandry and welfare

• Communication and working relationships

• Daily practice - the team, health and safety, stock and waste and record keeping

• Nursing care plans, models, clinics, and home car

• Preparing for professional registration

• Cell structure

• Central nervous system and associated nursing

• Infection control, disinfection and sterilisation

• Laboratory diagnostics

• Musculoskeletal system and associated nursing

• Skin, wound care and bandaging

• Body fluids, homeostasis and fluid therapy

• Circulatory system and associated nursing

• Urinary system and associated nursing

• Medicines and dispensary management

• First aid, emergency and critical care nursing

• Respiratory system and associated nursing

• Digestion, nutrition and feeding

• Reproduction and breeding and associated nursing

• Endocrine system and associated nursing

• Pain management

• Diagnostic imaging

• Anaesthesia

• Operating theatre management and nursing care.

The qualification focuses on veterinary nursing care of dogs, cats, and rabbits.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time
  • Work based

Theory classes are delivered online and studied from home

Practical teaching will take place at the Rural Studies Centre, Halkirk

Students will also spend 52 weeks in practice placement over the 2.5 Years on the award

How long will my course last?

2.5 Years

Year 1:

8 weeks college classes

26 weeks practice placement

3 directed study weeks

Year 2:

12 weeks college classes

26 weeks practice placement

3 directed study weeks

Year 3:

1 week college classes

Where can I study my course?

    • Work Based
    • Employers Premises

Start date



Find out more about fees, fee waivers and funding options.

What can I do on completion of my course?

The Veterinary Nursing qualification is a well-respected qualification, opening various career avenues.  Our graduates find jobs readily in veterinary practice once qualified. However, there are also a number of alternative employment options for RVN’s available including zoos, veterinary nursing in the forces, veterinary pharmaceutical companies and lecturing.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Veterinary Nursing (Small Animal) Level 3 Work-based Diploma SCQF 6

I want to start in 2023/24
I want to start in 2024/25

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI North, West and Hebrides. UHI North, West and Hebrides operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.