Veterinary Nurses care for animals under treatment and in temporary residence at veterinary facilities and assist Veterinarians to perform procedures and operations.
Also known as: Animal Nurse, or Veterinary Assistant.
A certificate III or IV in veterinary nursing is usually needed to work as a Veterinary Nurse. Some workers complete a traineeship.
holding animals to allow examination and treatment by Veterinarians
cleaning and sterilising examination tables and equipment
preparing instruments and handing them to the Veterinarian
assisting Veterinarians to administer anaesthetics and oxygen during operations
placing animals in cages for recovery from operations and monitoring their condition
giving medications to animals
maintaining stock control and records
providing animal care advice, and preparing, delivering, and reviewing animal care education programs
may perform diagnostic laboratory tests
may act as receptionist, accept payments and undertake clerical work
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow very strongly
- is likely to reach 17,800 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 49% of people employed as Veterinary Nurses work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 17 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 40 hours per week in their main job. This is 4 hours less than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,026 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $978
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,160
Median hourly earnings are $27, this is lower than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Veterinary Nurses||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Veterinary Nurses work in the Professional, scientific and technical services industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Veterinary Nurses||All Jobs Average|
Around 49% of Veterinary Nurses live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Veterinary Nurses is 29 years. This is younger than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 97% of the workforce. This is 49 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Veterinary Nurses||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||0.5||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A certificate III or IV in veterinary nursing is usually needed to work as a Veterinary Nurse. Some workers complete a traineeship.
Registration or licencing may be required.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Animal Care and Management VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Veterinary Nurses||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||1.1||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||4.9||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Veterinary Nurses who are caring, compassionate, empathetic and who can communicate clearly.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Reading work related information.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
39%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Using maths to solve problems.
Teaching people how to do something.
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
36%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
34%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
30%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
59%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
43%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
41%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
39%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
32%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
24%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
22%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
22%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
20%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
19%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
17%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
15%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Communicate by speaking.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Read and understand written information.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
43%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are far away.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
41%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Lift, push, pull, or carry things.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
34%Working with numbers
Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
73%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
69%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
66%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
64%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
63%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
61%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
61%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
59%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
59%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
58%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
56%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
56%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
53%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
53%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
53%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
49%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
47%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
46%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
45%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
43%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
100%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
99%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Talk with people face-to-face.
93%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
90%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
89%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
85%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
84%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
83%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
Talk on the telephone.
82%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
81%Minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
Be exposed to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings.
81%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
80%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
76%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
75%Bending or twisting your body
Spend time bending or twisting your body.
73%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
Be exposed to radiation.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 31-9096.00 - Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.