Animal Care

Opportunities in the Animal Care sector are immense and the work is rewarding when you have a love for animals. Our qualifications equip you with the practical skills to manage and care for animals skilfully.

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Love animals? We have a wide range of qualifications and courses for you. From specialist programmes in avian wildlife to companion animal care and rural animal technology, you have an array of options.

Gain significant industry-related work experience during your studies. We’ve partnered with the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, equipped with a veterinary clinic, surgical preparation area, kennels and a laboratory, so you can learn and work with real animals who need urgent care.

We are also the first New Zealand Polytechnic to hold the Certified Low-Stress Handling for Dogs and Cats Award. So you’ll graduate knowing the best way to handle and care for an animal.

Animal Care Qualifications

Agriculture & Animal Healthcare

This programme is your first step towards an animal-related profession such as kennel and cattery management, pet grooming, wildlife management or education.

We know full-time study isn’t always possible so we offer this programme part-time over one year (Feb start only). And, if you’ve never done tertiary study before, you'll be able to get your tuition fees for free through the Fees Free scheme (but you’ll still need to pay additional costs for things like equipment).


20 Weeks Full-time


Online with a work placement

Career potential

Animal Education, Animal Trainer, Kennel and Cattery Management, Pet Grooming, SPCA Work, Wildlife Management

Agriculture & Animal Healthcare

Designed to create a training pathway for those wanting a rewarding career as an Animal Healthcare Assistant, this new programme recognises the role as distinct from a Veterinary Nurse or Veterinary Technician.


1 Year Full-time

2 Years Part-time


Flexible facilitated

Career potential

Animal Healthcare Assistant

Register your interest in Pet Grooming

This programme is currently pending NZQA approval. We will reach out to you when we are ready to accept applications.

  • New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Level 4) (Pet Grooming) - Learn about dogs, their health, welfare and husbandry, anatomy, physiology, low-stress handling techniques, and grooming. Graduate with the technical knowledge and skills you need to perform pet grooming jobs under broad supervision, as well as effective teamwork and communication skills.
Study Veterinary Nursing

Study Veterinary Nursing

Our programmes focus on promoting the health, husbandry and welfare of animals.

Chris Neville

Chris Neville

After graduating, Chris now supervises at a dog-care facility, interacting, playing with and monitoring the dogs in his care.

Specialise in Avian Wildlife

Specialise in Avian Wildlife

Our specialist avian wildlife courses are tailored to qualified veterinary nurses and vets.

Discover our School of Veterinary Nursing

Get a taste of what it's like to study this field at Otago Polytechnic:

  • See all programmes offered 
  • Meet your lecturers and find out what makes them leaders in their chosen area  
  • Hear about our latest news and events  
  • Learn first-hand what it’s like to study with us from real students and graduates  
  • Read about our postgraduate research and projects

School of Veterinary Nursing

Contact us

If you’re not sure what to study and would like some guidance, we’re here to help. Feel free to chat to us directly about any questions you may have.