Many overseas veterinary nurses travel and work in Australia. The most important things to be aware of are that:
As a result of its population size, Australia has far fewer veterinary clinics than some other countries,
Visitors from most other countries will require a visa to work in Australia.
What national veterinary nursing qualifications are available?
‘Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing’ is the current nationally recognised qualification for veterinary nurses in Australia.
There are also four diplomas open to qualified veterinary nurses to further their education in the following areas:
Emergency and critical care
Do I need to hold the national qualification to be able to work as a veterinary nurse?
No, you do not need to hold the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing to work as a veterinary nurse in Australia.
Will my overseas veterinary nursing qualification be recognised?
Australia does not formally recognise any overseas veterinary nursing qualifications. If you wish, you can apply to have your individual qualification assessed with regard to the Australian Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. To do so you’ll need to enquire with one of the Registered Training Organisations (RTO) delivering the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing (see http://training.gov.au/Training/Details/ACM40412 for a list of RTOs). They will assess your qualification for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and your work history and professional experience and development for Recognition of Current Competency (RCC).
Do I need to be registered to work as a veterinary nurse?
Western Australia is currently the only state in Australia where veterinary nurses are required to register in order to practice. If you plan to work in Western Australia you will need to apply for registration with the Veterinary Surgeons Board of Western Australia. For information regarding registration of veterinary nurses in Western Australia please see the following website: http://www.vsbwa.org.au/index.php/nurses/
How do I find work as a veterinary nurse?
Employment opportunities for veterinary nurses can be found in a number of ways; advertisements in newspapers, employment section of the VNCA website, veterinary employment companies, classified sections in veterinary magazines / journals and word of mouth. Alternatively you can deliver your resume to veterinary clinics to hold on file in case any opportunities arise.
How do I find out about pay and working conditions?
In the first instance, this information should be available through your employer. You and your employer will need to negotiate a contract and a job description for your employment (the job description is often included as part of the contract). You should receive a summary of your pay and deductions every pay day.
All VNCA members have access to the Workplace Helpline which offers advice on terms and conditions of employment.
The Fair Work Commission is Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal and covers veterinary nurses under the Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award (see www.fwa.gov.au).
Is there a national association for veterinary nurses?
Yes, the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia (VNCA) is the industry body for veterinary nurses in Australia. See www.vnca.asn.au for more information.
Can I be an Accredited Veterinary Nurse (AVN) if I have an overseas qualification?
The VNCA runs an Accredited Veterinary Nurses programme. To be eligible veterinary nurses must either hold the Certificate IV Veterinary Nurse qualification or have had their overseas qualification assessed by an RTO (see will my overseas veterinary nursing qualification be recognised?).
What are the immigration requirements to work as a veterinary nurse?
Visitors from most other countries will require a visa to work in Australia. There are two options available:
Working holiday visa (you must be under 30 years old to be eligible for a working holiday visa)
Sponsored visa (veterinary nursing is on the Consolidated Sponsored Occupations List)
Contact your local Australian Embassy or visit the Australian immigration website (www.immi.gov.au) for more information.