An east durham college veterinary nurse student inside Houghall's specialist veterinary nursing unit

Veterinary Nursing

Veterinary nurses are key members of a veterinary team. They work alongside vets to provide care and treatment to a variety of animals. Our programme is based on the small animal pathway.

Choose your Course

Being a veterinary nurse can be a very challenging job, often involving long and unsociable hours, however the rewards that come from nursing a sick animal back to health make it a very fulfilling job too.

Based at our Houghall Campus, in Durham, at level 2 you study topics such as animal handling and restraint, health, hygiene and disease, animal emergencies and first aid, veterinary terminology, veterinary anaesthesia, medication, radiography, employment issues and health and safety in a veterinary practice.


The College recently underwent a stunning £12.75 million redevelopment so you can be sure Houghall is an excellent place to study.

The College's new specialist veterinary nursing suite is not located in the refurbished main front building and includes an X-ray machine, anaesthesia equipment, mock theatre and associated equipment giving the learner a true insight into the veterinary nursing profession.

Take a Look Inside!

Why not have a look for yourself at our veterinary nursing department? You can also take a full look around Houghall too with our 360 degree tour.

Level 2 Veterinary Care Assistant

Applicants to the level 2 programme must be 16 years old and have achieved maths and English GSCEs at grade 3 or higher. To be accepted on to this course you will be required to have a placement in a RCVS approved veterinary practice for a minimum of two days per week for one year.

Level 3 Veterinary Nursing

For the level 3 programme applicants must have employment or a placement in a RCVS approved practice for a minimum of three days per week over the two year period.

At level 3 topics include anaesthesia, radiography, diagnostic imaging, medicines, pre and post-operative care, veterinary emergencies, animal welfare, functional anatomy and professional relationships within veterinary practice.

For level 3 applicants MUST be at least 17 years old on 31st August due to legislation covering the X-ray equipment used as part of the course.

Candidates must possess a minimum of five GCSEs at grades 4-9, including maths, English and science. Alternatively, they could progress with an overall distinction grade in the level 2 veterinary care programme including successfully passing GCSE maths and English. In addition, students must also have at least six weeks work experience within a veterinary practice prior to commencing the course.

For the level 3 programme applicants MUST have secured employment or a voluntary placement in a RCVS approved practice. The voluntary placement could also be adapted to run as an apprenticeship. Students study at college and take part in a block release placement scheme. These placements run five days a week, and blocks vary from 3 to 9 weeks throughout the two academic years of the programme.

Animal Care & Equine Studies Courses

The College also offers a fantastic range of Animal Care courses. These courses in animal husbandry and animal management prepare you for a range of exciting careers in the animal care industry.

Click here to go to the Animal Care courses section of the website.

Click here to go to the Equine Care courses section of the website.

To see full details on our Veterinary Nursing courses, run at the Houghall Campus in Durham, please click on the courses listed below.

Available full time and/or part time course(s) for 2022/2023 are listed below:

The full time and/or part time course(s) listed below are available to apply for to be studied during the next academic year - 2022/2023.

Employment Stats & Facts In This Sector