ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies

(Veterinary Assisting)

If you’ve been approached by a student looking for work placement for the ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies, here’s what you need to know.

Quick links


Download the following documents to assist you in deciding whether to take a student or not. Further details are provided after registering.

Course handbook


If you’re not already a registered and approved Veterinary Nursing Clinical Mentor with ACVN, you’ll need to register.


Please note:
For offline registration, you will need to print, complete in full, then return the registration packet either via post or email. You’re welcome to hand it to the student to arrange to return the form.



The ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies (Veterinary Assistant) is a nationally accredited course and is specifically designed for students who are just starting out in the industry with no or limited experience.  It has been designed to cover working as a veterinary assistant and provides some credits towards the Certificate III in Animal Studies and the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

Students who enrol in this qualification are usually still in high school, or freshly out, or have other commitments to fit study around.

This course is geared towards working as a kennel hand or ward assistant but does provide the foundations to build on, should the student decide on further study as a veterinary nurse later.



As part of their course, students must undertake work placement in order to develop their practical skills. This is performed under the scope of work experience.

For this course, students must undertake a total of 15 to 20 days of work experience, with each day being 7.5 – 8 hours in duration. This is split across two placements.

We suggest students complete the first placement about half way through and second at the end of the course. Students should complete all related theory prior to attending placement, but this is not mandatory as to allow flexibility around clinic availability.

The first placement can occur at a vet clinic, shelter, boarding facility or any approved workplace that houses companion animals overnight. This placement must be at least 5 days (totally 37.5 hours), but we highly recommend 10 days to get as much experience as possible.

The second placement (10 days covering 75 hours) must be undertaken at a veterinary clinic to ensure students are mastering the right nursing skills that this course requires.

Placements are very flexible in order to allow students fit around other commitments and to work in best with your workplace availability. Placement can be done either as blocks or regular contact days, as long as the minimum hours are completed.


Clinical Mentors are a vital part of how we train here at ACVN. We want the student’s clinical experience to be realistic. After all, once they’re employed in the clinic they will be working with, and learning from, vets and nurses every day.

We recognise the contribution the mentors, and their clinics, make to the success of our graduates, so we want to thank you.

Upon request, we’re happy to provide you with a Certificate of Appreciation that you can proudly display in your clinic. Many clinics put them in their reception area.

Other perks of being a mentor include:

  • You will receive 50% off any of our practical workshops. Just call us to book in at the discounted rate.
  • When we have webinars scheduled, you’ll receive either FREE or heavily discounted tickets to attend and obtain some valuable CPD.
  • Receive 50% off up to 2 short courses. Email us for a discount code.

These perks apply whilst you are a registered clinical mentor, and have hosted students in the last 12 months.


This section summarises the steps that must occur before a student can officially start placement at your clinic. The student is responsible for ensuring all these steps are completed prior to starting, however, your cooperation for completing registration and forms quickly is greatly appreciated.



Before you, or your clinic, is able to host a work placement student, there are a few steps that both you, and the student, will need to complete.

Firstly, your clinic must be an approved training clinic. For more information on this process, pop over to this page. It’s completely free and your clinic registration lasts for two years. Clinic registration covers Cert II, III and IV students.

All vets and nurses involved in mentoring ACVN students must register and be approved Clinical Mentors. Again, this is free, and in return for hosting the student, you’ll receive some great perks. For general information on being a Clinical Mentor – read this page.

The final step is to ensure a Work Experience / Placement Agreement form is completed and signed by a clinic representative, the student or their guardian, and a representative of the training organisation. This is an extremely important document to ensure we all meet legislative requirements and it is used to start the placement insurance coverage.



Prior to commencing placement, all students are required to complete and pass the ‘Health & Safety in the Vet Clinic (WHS)’ and ‘Animal Restraint & Transport’ subjects. We also recommend they complete all theory related to the placement skills, prior to commencing placement.

The mandatory subjects are there to ensure the student understands how to keep safe when in a veterinary clinic. However, you should still do a WHS induction on day one like any new staff member, to ensure you have met your duty of care and any WHS responsibilities.


This section summarises the practical assessments that the student will need to complete whilst on placement. Of course, they will need time to learn and practice these tasks before jumping into their assessments, so most of these will occur towards the end of their placement. Their time in your clinic needs to be structured around having the opportunity to learn these skills from the Clinical Mentors.

KEY SKILLS (Third party reports)


Key Skills are a record of tasks that the student has undertaken in your clinic. Each Key Skill sheet has explicit instructions, and the student should complete all the necessary data before presenting it to you for a signature and date. Key Skills demonstrate that the student has performed a task on multiple occasions, to the level you’d expect of an employee.

Click here for an example. Further instructions and information is provided to mentors via this website (once you are registered and approved).

Placement 1

There are two Key Skills to be completed on placement. These cover areas of WHS and being productive.

Placement 2

This placement contains two Key Skills covering workplace hygiene and verifying responsibilities.



Case Diaries are another way we collect evidence of tasks that the student has undertaken in your clinic. Case diaries involve the student taking a photo of them undertaking a specific task, then summarising what they were doing. Case Diaries demonstrate that the student has performed a range of tasks over time, and variations to the same task (eg multiple species).

Click here for an example. Further instructions and information are provided to mentors via this website (once you are registered and approved).

Mentors do not need to be involved in this assessment. Anyone can take the photo for the student.

Placement 1

There are 4 case diaries for placement 1. They cover animal handling and restraint, working safely, preparing workplace documentation, and undertaking general workplace tasks such as daily cleaning checklists.

Placement 2

This placement contains 4 case diaries. These cover patient hygiene, assisting the vet with treatments, feed and water animals and isolation tasks.



Video assessments are where the student videos themselves performing a task, then submits this online for assessment. To meet the requirements of Nationally Recognised Training, a qualified trainer and assessor (for ACVN this is our Nurse Educators) must observe the student undertaking the required tasks correctly. A student cannot be deemed competent or graduate unless this occurs.

Traditionally, this has occurred by an assessor visiting the workplace. As we are a distance provider, we utilise video assessment to keep our course affordable and accessible. Video assessment is also less strain on the clinic, as particular cases and procedures do not need to be scheduled for an assessor visit. Videos can be done around normal workflow.

For most videos, there is no need for additional staff to be involved. Smart phones or video cameras can be mounted or supported on a surface near by. For some videos, we ask to see the student interact with other staff so we can assess vital communication skills. Some videos are better off done as a simulation to better meet clinic requirements.

Students are provided with thorough instructions to ensure they capture the required skill in full. Mentors are provided with further instructions, where necessary, as part of this website.

Click here for an example of the video instructions we provide to students.

Placement 1

Students must produce 2 videos on this placement. These cover skills in animal handling and helping others with WHS related tasks.

Only two of these videos require other staff interaction, for animal handling they must request the help of staff member and WHS they need to instruct a ‘junior’ member of staff, which can be roleplayed by any staff member.

Placement 2

This placement contains 5 videos covering skills in basic isolation procedures, performing a TPR, and two simulated videos for first aid – one being applying haemorrhage control and the other providing oxygen supplementation.