Level 2 Certificate

Veterinary Care Support

This qualification is designed for those working in Veterinary Practice, in a veterinary care supporting role, this includes Patient Care Assistants (PCA), reception or other lay staff.

It will provide relevant practical skills and underpinning knowledge that will enable the learner to provide a good level of support to the Veterinary Nurse and Veterinary Surgeon. Furthermore, it may be used as a stepping-stone onto the VetSkill Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Companion Animal) qualification, subject to additional entry conditions being met.

Young man studying
Online study
high level of support
Start date
October or April
12 - 18 months
Group of nurses studying
The role of a veterinary Care assistant (VCA)

What does a VCA do?

Patient Care Assistants help with the routine day-to-day husbandry and care of domestic and/or wild animals under guidance in a variety of different settings. The work can be carried out individually or the wider picture is supporting the Veterinary or animal care team

Entry requirements

What do you need?

Students must be at least 16 years of age There are no formal or specific qualification or learning entry requirements for students undertaking this programme. The learners will undertake a pre-assessment before accepted onto the course Learners will be required to achieve level 1 English and Maths (GCSE Grade 3 or D) and take the test for level 2 English and Maths prior to taking the end-point assessment.

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your learner journey

See what's in store!

Embarking on your clinical career is an exciting journey, and we will be here every step of the way to support you.

Sign me up!

Please complete an application form. You must complete a pre-assessment and attend an interview with the Centre (this can be completed online)


All paperwork is completed for registration with the awarding body. Learner journey starts here exciting!

legislation and safe working practices

On completion of this unit, the learner will be able to identify the key legislation that affects working practices in UK veterinary establishments.

unit vCS01
ANimal health & welfare

On completion of this unit, the learner will be able to assist with care to animals in the veterinary environment

unit vCS02
animal environment and accommodation

On completion of this unit, the learner will be able to maintain the veterinary environment, appropriate for the species presented.

unit vCS03
introduction to patient care

On completion of this unit, the learner will be able to provide a variety of care for animals within the veterinary practice environment.

unit vCS04
introduction to animal anatomy and physiology

On completion of this unit, the learner will be able to have an understanding of the anatomy and physiology that underpins nursing care given in veterinary practice

unit vCS05
veterinary care support

On completion of this unit, the learner will be able to assist in the provision of nursing care to veterinary practice clients and their animals.

unit vCS06
reach gateway

Once all assessments are completed and passed then students can be entered for the end point assessments.

end point assessments

Professional Discussion

A structured interview between the examiner and the student that includes competency based questions. This allows the student to demonstrate their knowledge of different scenarios through a structured discussion.

journey complete!

This is done and you are now a qualified Patient Care Assistant ready to start a new journey ☺

Do I need to be employed?

Learners must have a paid or voluntary placement within a Veterinary Practice and complete a minimum of 600hrs (excluding breaks, statutory holidays, annual leave or sickness) in order to fulfil the practical requirements of the qualification

course funding

How do I make a payment?

This course is funded through an Apprenticeship for anyone working in England 50% of the time. Smaller employers that do not pay into the levy will be asked to ‘co-invest’ for the payment of the tuition fees and this is currently 5% of the fees. Anyone that does not match this criteria can pay directly to the Centre in instalments (please contact the Centre for more details)

Learn more
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What is a training practice?

An Approved Training Practice (TP) is a Veterinary Practice approved as anRCVS Training Practice where a Student Veterinary Nurse will be employed for aminimum of 30hrs per week in order to complete their practical training andtheir evidence for their eportfolio.

Become a training practice
Our tutors

Learn from
industry experts

Chester Veterinary Training Centre team consists of industry professional Veterinary Nurses with several years of experience, including first opinion, referral nursing, locum Nursing, Head Nursing, practice management and behaviour.

Meet your tutors
Eve our internal Quality AssurerThomas one of our tutors
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What can I do with this qualification?

On successfulcompletion of the End Point Assessment, the student will be qualified as a Patient Care assistant. This then provides further opportunities to progress in the following areas:

  • Level 3 Veterinary NurseDiploma – with the level 2 Patient Care Assistant qualification alongside GSCE Maths and English language of grade A*-C (or 9-4) or level 2 Functional Skills you will have the entry requirements for this course.
  • Kennel/Cattery Assistant
  • Pet Retail Assistant
  • Animal Day Care Assistant
  • Farm Park Assistant

Frequently asked questions

How long will the course take?

Typically, the course will take 12 – 18 months to complete; this includes the 12 months of theoretical training and the end point assessment.

What is the total qualification time?

The expected number of hours required by a student to complete this qualification is 840 hours.

What level is the course?

This is a Further Education course at level 2.

How is the qualification assessed?

Throughout the duration of the qualification, you will compile a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate practical application of learning in the work place, examples of assessments include-Written Tasks Assignments, reports, leaflets, handouts, case studies, projects, diagrams, definition sheets, written tests, posters, logs, letters, presentations, record of professional discussion, record of oral or written questions. Practical Tasks Assessor direct observations, observation checklists.The apprenticeship requires an End Point assessment; this assessment will be a professional discussion The leaner will attend lectures with our tutors 1 day per week to fulfil the 20% Off the Job Training that you must complete as part of your Apprenticeship.

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