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A job within the veterinary industry and in particular as a veterinary nurse provides a challenging and highly rewarding career. While it requires various skills and is extremely hands-on, the rewards are endless and no two days are ever the same.

Veterinary nurses and assistants provide support to veterinarians in the care of animals receiving medical and surgical treatment. They work closely with animals in pre and post-operative care and are also responsible for the general cleaning and maintenance of equipment. Often vet nurses meet with clients and their animals before a veterinarian to evaluate the issue or injury of the animal and to help them decide on the best possible solution to the concern. 

If you’re considering a career as a vet nurse, the most important quality to possess is a love of animals. Other important skills include the ability to handle animals confidently, organisation, communication and strong customer service skills.

So you’ve completed your animal care courses and are now set to work in veterinary practice but how do you actually get your first position in animal health? Here we list the 4 of the most important steps on how to enter the industry:

1. Network

As with many professions, networking is crucial. Many practices will recruit via word of mouth as opposed to sifting through a pile of CVs. However in saying that, keeping your CV up to date every year is crucial. A strong and tailored CV will highlight your experience to date and convince a prospective employer of your employability. Be sure to also stay in contact with veterinary practices so that you are at the forefront of the practice managers mind if any vet nurse jobs were to arise. 

2. Register for online job sites: APPLY APPLY APPLY 

What have you got to lose? There are many veterinary-specific online job sites you can register for. Sign up and create job alerts. Other general online job sites may also have veterinarian openings so it’s worth staying on top of the jobs postings on these sites too. Sign up with recruitment agencies or TURSA to help assist you in your job search. There may be a position perfect for you and your qualifications.

3. Volunteer

How do you get that first step experience? You volunteer! Volunteer at animal shelters, RSPCA, the Animal Welfare League, conservation positions, animal sanctuaries and anywhere you will get hands-on animal experience you can add to your resume. Not only will you be helping out a worthwhile cause, but you’ll also be gaining on the job experience in the industry.

It’s important that you volunteer or source a traineeship somewhere where you can really develop your experience as a vet nurse, you need to have excellent animal handling skills in all areas. Remember that practical training is the best way to get the position you’ve always dreamed of. Pad out that resume whilst you study, no learning is lost learning! 

4. Be persistent

If you don’t get a vet job straight away, don’t be disheartened, perseverance is key! Regularly check in with practices around your area and look at other ways that you can potentially stand out from the crowd - this might be additional education or more work experience. Sometimes landing your first job in animal care (as with any occupation) is just a case of being in the right place at the right time. So keep trying and your hard work will eventually pay off.

According to Job Outlook, the number of people working as veterinary nurses is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years from 11,600 in 2018 to 12,700 by 2023. Vet nurse salaries for a full-time worker on an adult wage earn around $1,088 per week however earnings increase as experience grows. Online Courses Australia have a number of Animal Health and Vet Care Courses available. If you’d like to know more about this or any of the CPD-approved micro-credential training we offer at OCA, you’ll find everything you need by visiting us online at Alternatively, if you have any questions about anything relating to our training that covers a wide range of industries, you can get the answers you’re looking for by calling us today on 1300 611 404.


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