Veterinary Nurses care for animals under treatment and in temporary residence at veterinary facilities and assist Veterinarians to perform procedures and operations.

A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed. Most workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

Tasks

  • holding animals to allow examination and treatment by Veterinarians
  • cleaning and sterilising examination tables and equipment
  • preparing instruments and handing them to the Veterinarian
  • assisting Veterinarians to administer anaesthetics and oxygen during operations
  • placing animals in cages for recovery from operations and monitoring their condition
  • giving medications to animals
  • maintaining stock control and records
  • providing animal care advice, and preparing, delivering, and reviewing animal care education programs
  • may perform diagnostic laboratory tests
  • may act as receptionist, accept payments and undertake clerical work

Job Titles

  • Veterinary Nurse, Animal Nurse, or Veterinary Assistant

    Fast Facts

    • Avg. Weekly Pay

      $991 Before Tax
    • Future Growth

      strong
    • Skill Level

      Certificate III or IV
    • Employment Size

      10600
    • Unemployment

      below average
    • Male Share

      1.5%
    • Female Share

      98.5%
    • Full-Time Share

      69.2%

    Find Vacancies

    This is a small occupation employing 10,600 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
    Strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 5,001 and 10,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

    • Veterinary Nurses work in most parts of Australia.
    • They nearly all work in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services.
    • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 36.7 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
    • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $991 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • The workforce is fairly young. The average age is 28 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Around 4 in 10 workers are young (aged 15 to 25 years).
    • More than 9 in 10 workers are female.
    • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20056600
    20066400
    20079600
    20088700
    200911000
    20107600
    201111100
    201212700
    201310200
    20148800
    201510600
    202012000

    Weekly Earnings

    Full-time Earnings

    All Jobs Average

    Weekly Earnings (before tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsVeterinary NursesAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings9911230

    Hours

    Weekly Hours Worked

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryVeterinary NursesAll Jobs Average
    Full-time69.268.4
    Part-time30.831.6
    Average Weekly Hours (full-time)36.740

    Main Industries

    Top Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Professional, Scientific and Technical Services97.1
    Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing1.2
    Health Care and Social Assistance1
    Arts and Recreation Services0.7

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateVeterinary NursesAll Jobs Average
    NSW27.831.8
    VIC28.925.5
    QLD20.619.8
    SA8.56.8
    WA6.811.2
    TAS4.32
    NT0.91.1
    ACT2.21.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketVeterinary NursesAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-198.9-5.45.4
    20-2426.5-9.99.9
    25-3436.3-23.423.4
    35-4415.7-21.721.7
    45-549.8-21.121.1
    55-591-8.78.7
    60-641-5.95.9
    65 and Over0.7-3.83.8

    Gender

    Male Share

    Female Share

    Gender (% share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    CategoryVeterinary NursesCategoryAll Jobs Average
    Males1.5Males53.6
    Females98.5Females46.4

    Education Level

    Top Education Levels

    Highest Level of Education (% share)

    Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationVeterinary NursesAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0-8.68.6
    Bachelor degree0-17.917.9
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma21.3-10.110.1
    Certificate III/IV48-18.918.9
    Year 1230.7-18.718.7
    Years 11 & 100-17.717.7
    Below Year 100-8.18.1

    A Certificate III including at least 2 years of on-the-job training, or a Certificate IV, or at least 3 years of relevant experience, is usually needed. Most workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed in addition to a qualification.

    If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
    The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

    It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

    Employers look for Veterinary Nurses who are caring, compassionate, empathetic and who can communicate clearly.

    Knowledge

    The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Customer and Personal Service

      83% Important

      Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

    2. Biology

      70% Important

      Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

    3. English Language

      68% Important

      English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    4. Mathematics

      65% Important

      Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

    5. Sales and Marketing

      61% Important

      Showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

    Occupational Information Network Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers Opens in a new window
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    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Activities

    The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

    1. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

      85% Important

      Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

    2. Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings

      80% Important

      Checking objects, actions, or events, keeping an eye out for problems.

    3. Getting Information

      79% Important

      Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

    4. Documenting/Recording Information

      79% Important

      Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

    5. Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work

      78% Important

      Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

    Occupational Information Network Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers Opens in a new window
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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