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

    • $991 Weekly Pay
    • 12,100 workers Employment Size
    • Moderate Future Growth
    • Medium skill Skill level rating
    • Higher unemployment Unemployment
    • 62.5% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 32.2 hours Average full-time
    • 27 years Average age
    • 95.4% female Gender Share

    The number of Veterinary Nurses stayed fairly stable over the past 5 years and is expected to grow moderately over the next 5 years:
    from 12,100 in 2017 to 12,900 by 2022.
    There are likely to be around 9,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created (a large number for an occupation of this size).

    • Size: This is a small occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was above average in 2017.
    • Location: Veterinary Nurses work in most regions of Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
    • Full-time: Many work full-time (62.5%, similar to the all jobs average of 68.4%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 32.2 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 27 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years). Many workers are under 25 years of age (34.2%).
    • Gender: 95.4% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20078000
    20089700
    20098700
    20108100
    201110800
    201211800
    201311100
    20147600
    201512000
    20169100
    201712100
    202212900

    Weekly Earnings

    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

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Services96.3
    Manufacturing1.2
    Health Care and Social Assistance0.9
    Other Services0.8
    Other Industries0.8

    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 2017, 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
    NSW32.331.6
    VIC24.826.2
    QLD17.219.7
    SA7.96.7
    WA10.110.8
    TAS4.52.0
    NT1.11.1
    ACT2.01.8

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
    15-194.8-5.25.2
    20-2429.4-9.99.9
    25-3437.5-23.623.6
    35-4412.9-21.721.7
    45-5414.9-20.820.8
    55-590.0-8.88.8
    60-640.4-6.06.0
    65 and Over0.0-4.04.0

    Education Level

    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.

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

    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
    • 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.

    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.

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    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
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The 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.

    Activities

    These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

    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
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The 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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