Course Description

The Animal Care industry can be competitive and potential employers look favourably on those with certified skills. The ACM30410 Certificate III in Companion Animal Services from Open Colleges is a way for you to stand out from the pack; it is a nationally recognised course that will give you real training and experience in working professionally with animals.

You can study this course online via the Open Space portal which allows you to meet and connect with other students doing the same course all over Australia. You can learn online at your own pace, with a wide choice of electives to get you working in the areas of Animal Care that really interest you, such as animal nutrition or native animals.

This specialist course also contains Structured Workplace Learning, to give you real hands-on experience under the guidance of someone who is working in the industry. You’ll make contacts, learn tips, tricks and skills and work with real animals in a practical setting. You will be taught how to handle animals patiently, gently and confidently, so when you graduate you'll be ready to hire.

If you want to work in a pet store, kennel or cattery, you can get this nationally recognised qualification and embark on the path towards a fulfilling and important dream career.

This course involves work placement that currently needs to be undertaken in Australia. More information available in our FAQs

Potential career outcomes

  • Cattery Attendant
  • Kennel Hand
  • Pet Exerciser
  • Pet Shop Employee
Course number E1097
Qualification name ACM30410 Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
Course duration Maximum 24 months
Delivery Method Online with Work Placement
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Case Studies, Demonstrations, Multiple Choice Questions, Presentations, Projects, Short-Answer Questions, Workplace Assessments, Written Reports
Awarded by
  • Open Colleges (Provider number: 90796)


Preferred pathways for prospective learners considering this qualification include:

  • Direct entry
  • After achieving ACM20110 Certificate II in Animal Studies
  • Vocational training and/or work experience across a range of work settings.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 16 years old. If you are under 18 your enrolment form will need to be signed by a parent or guardian.


This course involves reading learner guides and undertaking a range of written assessments and engaging in online forums and discussions. Furthermore, the delivery mode relies on the extensive use of written communication. As such, entry to the course requires the successful completion of English to Year 10 level.

If you haven't successfully completed English at Year 10 level, you can demonstrate equivalency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Nationally Recognised Training qualification at Certificate II level or higher; or
  • 2 years relevant industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication

Open Colleges recognises that not all people are able to read, write and perform calculations to the same standard. See the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Considerations section for more information on tools, resources and support services provided to by Open Colleges.


You will need access to a computer and the internet and have basic computing skills. Minimum specifications for your computer are:

All users:

  • Microsoft Office 2010 or equivalent
  • Broadband internet connection
  • 2GB of RAM
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Adobe Reader XI or equivalent
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher.
  • Access to printer and associated software
  • Access to scanner and associated software
  • Digital imaging software
  • File compression software.

Windows users:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or higher (Windows 8 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Mac OS users:

  • Mac OSX v10.5 or higher (Mac OSX v10.6 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Digital equipment

You will need access to:

  • A digital video recording device and/or a digital camera and associated software to save and upload video, image and audio files to OpenSpace. Many mobile phones and smart phones include this technology.
  • Software to view online videos and images. Software such as Adobe Reader, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Viewer etc. are available as a free download from the internet.


To successfully complete this course, you will require basic computing skills. This includes:

  • Creating, saving and editing Microsoft Office documents
  • Accessing and searching the internet
  • Downloading and saving documents from websites
  • Uploading documents through websites
  • Participating in online discussions
  • Connecting digital cameras and downloading and storing images and audio files
  • Connecting digital video devices and downloading and storing videos
  • Compressing image files.

Physical requirements

Ability to lift approximately 15 kgs.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Our free online assessment tool can help give you an idea of the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed to study a VET course. This tool can also help you determine your learning level and help you plan your future studies. You can access the Language, Literacy and Numeracy tool here.

Open Colleges may make changes to the course from time to time to reflect changes introduced to the relevant Training Package or other regulatory requirements. Please download the course guide for current information about the course and its status.

Module 0: Electives

Select four (4) electives below

  • Identify commonly available dogs
  • Identify and evaluate behavioural and housing needs
  • Handle and restrain dogs
  • Assist with health care needs
  • Feed dogs
  • Maintain records
  • Identify common domestic cat breeds
  • Identify and evaluate behavioural and housing needs
  • Handle and restrain cats
  • Assist with health care needs
  • Feed cats
  • Maintain records
  • Identify commonly available rodents and rabbits
  • Identify and evaluate behavioural and housing needs
  • Catch, handle and restrain rodents and rabbits
  • Assist with health care needs
  • Feed rodents and rabbits
  • Maintain records
  • Establish client requirements
  • Plan grooming routine
  • Groom animals
  • Trim coat for animal comfort
  • Complete grooming and trimming procedures
  • Complete reception services
  • Maintain office records
  • Provide basic animal care assistance
  • Maintain records
  • Assess the situation
  • Assist in assessment of animals
  • Recognise and identify animal
  • Identify animal behaviour
  • Assess and respond to animal behaviour

Module 1

  • Prepare for feeding
  • Feed and water animals
  • Complete the feeding and watering process

Module 2

  • Confirm workplace animal care routine schedules
  • Check animals
  • Maintain a clean workplace
  • Complete hygiene practices for animals
  • Complete post-hygiene care of animals

Module 3

  • Plan the capture and restraint of companion animals
  • Capture animals
  • Prepare animals for movement

Module 4

  • Observe and record animal behaviour
  • Assist with managing undesirable animal behaviour
  • Implement enrichment programs

Module 5

  • Follow animal health management practices
  • Monitor and maintain the physical wellbeing of animals
  • Identify and report signs of ill health or injury in animals
  • Administer and record animal treatments

Module 6

  • Follow infection control guidelines
  • Identify and respond to infection risks
  • Maintain personal protection
  • Limit contamination
  • Contribute to incursion readiness processes

Module 7

  • Plan and conduct work safely
  • Support others in working safely
  • Contribute to OHS participative processes
  • Contribute to hazard identification, OHS risk assessment and risk control activities
  • Participate in the control of OHS emergency situations

Module 8

  • Organise and complete daily work activities
  • Work ethically with companion animals
  • Communicate effectively with clients
  • Maintain companion animal records

Module 9

  • Follow routine spoken messages
  • Perform workplace duties following routine written notices
  • Obtain and provide information in response to workplace requirements
  • Complete relevant work-related documents
  • Participate in workplace meetings and discussions

Module 10

  • Identify current resource use
  • Comply with environmental regulations
  • Seek opportunities to improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental hazards

Module 15

  • Provide information and advice on companion animal selection
  • Advise on housing and environmental requirements
  • Advise on health and nutritional requirements
  • Advise on additional products and services
  • Complete transactions

Start learning for less. Our payment options could help you make considerable savings on the cost of this course. 

Find out more

Amber Barnier

Amber has worked as a Veterinary Nurse for more than 14 years. She undertook the Veterinary Nursing Certificate with Tamworth TAFE while working within a busy mixed animal practice. Amber has also worked as a Pound Officer and spent some time employed as an Environmental Health Officer in a remote community where she worked alongside the RSPCA in Community Animal Health programs. Amber has been part of the VET sector for 6 years as a teacher of Animal Studies, Companion Animal Services and Equine Nursing with TAFE NSW and gained a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Amber has recently completed her Diploma of Veterinary Nursing General Practice.

Catherine Ford

Catherine has been a veterinary nurse for over 30 years and has been involved in many areas of the industry and worked with many different species. Her first position in the industry was working with the Animal Welfare League as an animal attendant, where she enrolled in a course called Animal Care, today known as Animal Studies, and Veterinary Nursing.

Catherine’s career has included working at a variety of specialist hospitals, as well as Waratah Park, Abbott Animal Health and TAFE. She is also involved in the Greyhound Adoption Program.

Chris Hosking

Chris Hosking is the Program Manager for Animal Care. Since 2004 he has had experience working with native and exotic invertebrates, fish, frogs, reptiles’ birds, and mammals. From 2008 to 2014 Chris coordinated the Australian Museum’s Live Exhibits where he undertook animal management, staff training and developed content about the live displays for the Museum’s programs. Chris remains a member of the Australian Museum’s Animal Care and Ethics Committee and a member of the Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping. Chris has a Bachelor of Arts from Flinders University and Certificate IV in Captive Animals.

Fiona Kelly

Fiona’s career has taken many twists over the past 30 years. Working in hotel management, public relations, event production and finally education, Fiona decided to follow her passion for animals by gaining a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services. Now owning a dog training, grooming and pet care business and working as an in-house trainer/behaviourist at a Sydney veterinary hospital, Fiona is able to combine her ‘human’ training qualifications and experience with her passion for animals. Fiona is a qualified and accredited Delta positive dog trainer and an active member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) of Australia.

Lauri Steel

After seven years of veterinary nursing, Lauri changed her focus to the vocational training sector. She decided to follow her passion for training and educating up and coming veterinary nurses and animal carers. Lauri holds a variety of qualifications including a Cert II and III in Animal Studies, Cert III and IV in Companion Animal Services, Cert IV and Dip (ECC) in Veterinary Nursing, Cert IV in TAE and Diplomas in Vocational Education and Training, Training Design and Development, Business Admin, Management and Business.?

Meghann Beckley

Meghann is a surgical, anaesthesia and critical care veterinary nurse with 18 years’ experience at various specialist hospitals across Sydney. Being a mature age, online tertiary student herself, she has always been passionate about adult education, and is very excited to have joined the education sector. Her in-depth experience within the veterinary industry enables her to create and maintain relationships with animal-based organisations across Australia. She enjoys challenging herself mentally and physically, and is currently studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Genetics and Biotechnology.

Robyn Bardsley

Robyn has principally worked as a Veterinary Nurse and as a Receptionist for 23 years. She undertook the Veterinary Nursing Certificate with Tamworth TAFE while working at the South Tamworth Animal Hospital Referral practice. Robyn worked at the Coffs Harbour Veterinary Hospital, and the Koala Hospital, moving further to the mid-north coast to the Macksville Veterinary Clinic. Throughout her working life, Robyn has undertaken numerous correspondence courses related to various disciplines

The course contains a minimum of 100 hours of work placement

The workplace will need to provide access to at least one species from the at least two of the six major animal groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates). The workplaces which could offer this include:

  • Veterinary practices
  • Boarding kennels and catteries
  • Retail pet stores
  • Day care facilities for companion animals
  • Animal welfare facilities
  • Companion animal breeding facilities

Examples of suitable workplaces would include veterinary practices, animal welfare organisations, pet shops, kennels, animal breeding facilities and catteries. 

Your work placement will need to be completed in Australia, and you will be responsible for the costs of any travel, accommodation, statutory checks or other requirements related to your work placement.

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