Many overseas veterinary nurses travel and work in New Zealand. The most important things to be aware of are that:
As a result of its population size, New Zealand has far fewer veterinary clinics than some other countries. The majority are in the larger cities (Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington) with clinics in other areas typically being smaller and sometimes very remote and rural.
Visitors from most other countries will require a visa to work in New Zealand.
What national veterinary nursing qualifications are available?
There are two nationally recognised veterinary nursing / technician qualifications available in New Zealand:
Bachelor of Veterinary Technology (BVet Tech) (level 7)
Diploma of Veterinary Nursing (DVN) (level 6)
The BVet Tech is available only through Massey University (New Zealand’s only veterinary teaching hospital).
The DVN is a new qualification (first available in 2016) and replaces all previous diplomas and certificates of veterinary nursing that were available (as part of a move to rationalise veterinary nursing training and qualifications). There are many institutes offering this qualification and each will have its own entry requirements.
Do I need to hold the national qualification to be able to work as a veterinary nurse?
You do not need to hold either of the national qualifications in order to be able to work as a veterinary nurse / technician in New Zealand.
Will my overseas veterinary nursing qualification be recognised?
Overseas qualifications deemed to be equal to or above the DVN i.e. 2 years of full time veterinary nursing education, will be considered equivalent to New Zealand’s veterinary nursing training standard. You can apply to have your qualification assessed in comparison to New Zealand qualifications by contacting Massey University in relation to the BVet Tech or one of the institutes of technology in relation to the DVN.
Do I need to be registered to work as a veterinary nurse?
You do not need to be registered to work as a veterinary nurse in New Zealand (veterinary nursing is not yet a regulated industry). However the NZVNA maintains a register and a list of veterinary nurses.
Registered veterinary nurses hold a qualification equal to or above the DVN (see ‘will my overseas veterinary nursing qualification be recognised’) and gain a minimum of 20 hours accredited CPD per year.
Listed veterinary nurses hold a formal veterinary nursing qualification (equivalent to a least one year of full time veterinary nursing educations) and gain a minimum of 20 hours accredited CPD per year.
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 NZVNA 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.
Information is also available from the NZVNA and on their website. www.nzvna.org.nz
Is there a national association for veterinary nurses?
Yes, the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association (NZVNA) is the industry body for veterinary nurses in New Zealand. See www.nzvna.org.nz for more information.
Can I be a registered / listed veterinary nurse if I have an overseas qualification?
The NZVNA maintains a list and a register of veterinary nurses (see ‘do I need to be registered to work as a veterinary nurse’). To be eligible for the list, veterinary nurses must hold a formal veterinary nursing qualification equivalent to a minimum of one year’s full time veterinary nursing education. To be eligible for the register, veterinary nurses must hold a veterinary nursing qualification equal to or above the DVN. In both cases they must commit to gaining a minimum of 20 hours accredited CPD per year.
What are the immigration requirements to work as a veterinary nurse?
In order to work in New Zealand international visitors will require either a work or residency visa.
Contact your local New Zealand Embassy or visit the New Zealand Department of Immigration website (www.immigration.govt.nz) for more information.