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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Universal College of Learning (UCOL)
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New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) (Level 3)

This course is available


Level of Study



20 weeks

Next start date

Expected Jul 2024


Palmerston North Campus (Main Campus)


Harness your love for animals and join the rewarding animal care industry with UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) Level 3.

Gain the skills, knowledge and experience you need to maintain the welfare of companion animals such as cats, dogs, companion birds and rabbits.

This programme will provide you with the qualification needed to comply with all regulatory requirements and relevant industry codes of practice for animal care, respond to normal and abnormal health and behaviour in animals and assist with the day to day care of animals.

This programme uses blended delivery – combining in person, online, and in-work learning.

Career & Study Outcomes

  • Pet stores
  • Animal rescue centres
  • Pet groomers
  • Boarding and training facilities
  • General pet owners
  • Animal recreation businesses
  • Or staircase to further study

Course Information

This programme is taught in a blended learning format. You will be in class one full day and one half-day each week. In addition, there will be lecturer-supported online tasks and learning activities to make a full-time study load. These online tasks can be done at home, or at UCOL using UCOL computers.

This programme consist of 70 Credits including 27 NCEA credits. The courses includes:

  • Animal Care Fundamentals (15 Credits)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (10 Credits)
  • Animal Care Facilities (15 Credits)
  • Animal Husbandry and Health (30 Credits)

Industry Connections

Animal Care Establishments and the Veterinary Nursing Educational Standards Committee (VNESC).

Entry criteria

  • NCEA Level 1 OR
  • Equivalent academic achievement OR
  • On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean

All applicants are required to:

  • Declare any previous criminal convictions prior to admission being confirmed. Convictions of any offence may not necessarily exclude applicants from enrolment; the decision is at the discretion of the Academic Leader; and
  • Authorise UCOL to obtain a background check from the New Zealand Police Licensing and Vetting Agency; and
  • Complete a health declaration form including tetanus status.

English language Requirement: IELTS - General or Academic: Score of 5.0 with no band lower than 5; TOEFL (iBT) - Score of 35 (with a writing score of 14); Cambridge English Qualifications - B2 with score of 154; no less than 154 in each skill; OET - Minimum Grade C or 200 in all subtests; NZCEL - Level 3 (General); and Pearson Test of English (Academic) - Score of 36 with no band less than 36.

Under 20 years of age

For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply (Entry requirements vary from country to country).

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