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

Also known as: Animal Nurse, or Veterinary Assistant.

A certificate III or IV in veterinary nursing is needed to work as a Veterinary Nurse. Traineeships may be available.

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

All Veterinary Nurses

  • $1,088 Weekly Pay
  • Strong Future Growth
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 11,600 workers Employment Size
  • Medium skill Skill level rating
  • 49% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 40 hours Average full-time
  • 29 years Average age
  • 97% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Veterinary Nurses (in their main job) is about the same as 5 years ago and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
from 11,600 in 2018 to 12,700 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 9,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 1,800 a year).

  • Size: This is a medium sized occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
  • Location: Veterinary Nurses work in many regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,088 per week (below the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: Around half work full-time (49%, less than the average of 66%), showing there are many opportunities to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 40 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 29 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are under 25 years of age (30%).
  • Gender: 97% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
20089700
20098700
20108100
201110800
201211900
201311300
20147500
201512100
20169100
201711800
201811600
202312700

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. 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 Earnings10881460

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services93.2
Other Services2.0
Education and Training1.6
Health Care and Social Assistance1.5
Other Industries1.7

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateVeterinary NursesAll Jobs Average
NSW29.531.6
VIC24.725.6
QLD22.020.0
SA8.57.0
WA10.810.8
TAS2.32.0
NT0.71.0
ACT1.51.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketVeterinary NursesAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-196.3-5.05.0
20-2423.9-9.39.3
25-3438.5-22.922.9
35-4417.8-22.022.0
45-549.8-21.621.6
55-592.4-9.09.0
60-640.9-6.06.0
65 and Over0.5-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). 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 Certificate1.1-10.110.1
Bachelor degree11.2-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma13.1-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV44.8-21.121.1
Year 1221.0-18.118.1
Year 113.8-4.84.8
Year 10 and below4.9-12.512.5

A certificate III or IV in veterinary nursing is needed to work as a Veterinary Nurse. Traineeships may be available.

Registration with the relevant state or territory board may be needed to work as a Veterinary Nurse.

Thinking about study or training?

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Animal Care and Management VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

Useful links and resources


The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Customer and Personal Service

    59% Skill level

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  2. Biology

    46% Skill level

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

  3. English Language

    45% Skill level

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

  4. Mathematics

    43% Skill level

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Sales and Marketing

    43% Skill level

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 31-9096.00 - Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers.

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.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. Indoors, Heat Controlled

    100% Important

    How often do you work indoors with access to heating or cooling?

  2. Contact With Others

    99% Important

    How much do you have contact with people (face-to-face, by telephone, or any other way)?

  3. Face-to-Face Discussions

    97% Important

    How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

  4. Deal With External Customers

    93% Important

    How important is it to work with customers or the public?

  5. Physical Proximity

    90% Important

    How physically close are you to other people?

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 31-9096.00 - Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers.

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