The certificate in practical animal care skills has been developed to enable students to develop practical skills, promote sound working practices, it provides essential industry knowledge to help learners progress into higher levels of learning or into sustainable employment in the land-based sector. Learners will complete this qualification with a concrete understanding of the following available units, including; Deliver Basic Treatments to Animals, Control and Restrain Animals, Prepare Feed for Animals and more. This course includes a short course in Animal Health, Husbandry and Handling qualification.

You will learn how to promote and maintain the health and well-being of animals, including identification of abnormal signs, monitoring, and maintaining accurate records.

SEG | Grading: Pass/Fail

Ideal if

You wish to gain a practical qualification in Animal Care through vocational study and have an interest in moving into employment in one of the following sectors; kennels and catteries, breeding, training, preservation or retail of animals and related care products. The structure of this qualification provides learners with the flexibility to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills depending on their designated career pathway.

What to expect

On completion of this qualification, you can progress onto a Level 3 Diploma to: Level 3 Certificate in Practical Skills in Animal Care. Or you could move into employment as an Animal Care Worker within a range of settings, including Kennels or Catteries, Pet shops, Zoos, Welfare centres and Riding stables. You will learn in our training centre within one of our fully equipped classrooms with access to our many onsite animals, including Ferrets, Rabbits, Guinea pigs, Geckos, Snakes and many many more.

For each unit, your practical skills will be assessed while working closely with our animals. Your understanding of theory will be carried out within the classroom with plenty of support and resources available.

What next
On completion of this qualification, you can progress onto a Level 3 Certificate in Practical Skills in Animal Care or Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Animal Management. Or you could move into employment as an Animal Care Worker within a range of settings, including Kennels or Catteries, Pet shops, Zoos, Veterinary Practices, Welfare centres and Riding stable.

Animal Care Field trips
Every year we go on a number of trips throughout your course, including visiting places such as Dartmoor Zoological Park, The National Marine Aquarium as well as a number of local farms. Wider curriculum activities visitors come from organisations such as the RSPCA, Animal Shelters and Birds of Prey Specialists. These visits will inspire you to explore the many different types of job roles in the sector as well as supporting your study.

What it feels like to be a student Class group sizes are between 10 to 20 students with a dedicated tutor. Support staff are on site such as pastoral care, finance and careers advice.

“I just completed a Level 2 Animal Care course and can’t recommend everyone enough! Tutors are amazing, the facilities are brilliant and the support system in place is outstanding! I can’t wait to start Level 3 next

Students come from a variety of schools across Plymouth, they all help each other out and develop a really good bond over the year, encouraging each other to achieve. Most students never want to leave, and progress onto
higher level courses.

16-18 year old – Attendance days

Sessions will take place 09:00 – 15:30 Monday and Wednesday each week.

Term time only  – The term starts in September and finishes in July.

Work placements and hours
Students must complete up to 150 hours at a good quality work placement to meet the requirements of their qualification. A work placement in the animal care industry enhances knowledge and skills that are needed to progress within this sector. Examples of placements include: Farm hands, zoo keeper assistants, Animal technicians, Aquarium assistants and pet retail assistants.Work placements are crucial for the development of life skills like problem solving and teamwork and for building general confidence.

Salary and Career expectations
As a qualified Animal Care Worker, you can expect, on average, a starting salary of £13,500 and can go up to £22,000, when you have gained experience within your specific sector. Professional careers can exceed salaries of £50,000 or more. Students have opportunities to progress into employment or to move onto the advanced level qualifications, such as the Level 3 Certificate Practical Skills in Animal Care or the Advanced Technical Certificate in Animal Management Level 3

No Entry Requirements, learners can not already hold a Level 2 Certificate or above in Animal Care.


Level 2​ courses fully funded if you are: ​
  • a school leaver
  • are 19-23 and do not already have a level 2 qualification
  • are 24+ and unemployed or earn below the National Living Wage annually (£22,308.00 from April 2024)

All applications will need to meet the eligibility criteria.

  If you want to check you are able to access this course for free call for a chat 01752 202266.

Apply here 16-18

Make an enquiry 19+

If you have any issues with applying online and need additional support including reasonable adjustments with the application process please contact the Admissions team on 01752 202269.