United Kingdom

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom is a popular place for visitors who want to stay for a while and work. The most important things to be aware of are that:

Throughout the United Kingdom there are a variety of different types of veterinary practices which include small animal, mixed practice (small animal plus equine and/or farm animal), first option practice or more specialised referral practice/veterinary hospitals. There are a lot of practices with the majority being located around the major cities.

What national veterinary nursing qualifications are available?

The Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, Foundation of Science (FdSc) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Veterinary Nursing are the current nationally recognised qualification for veterinary nurses in the UK.

There are also Advanced Diplomas and post-graduate qualifications open to Registered Veterinary Nurses (RVNs).

Do I need to hold the national qualification to be able to work as a veterinary nurse?

In order to work as a Registered Veterinary Nurse and undertake all permitted procedures you do need to hold a recognised qualification and be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

If you want to work in an animal care or veterinary care assistant role you do not need to be registered but you should then be aware of the limitations of these roles.

Will my overseas veterinary nursing qualification be recognised?

Citizens of the European Union who are registered as veterinary nurses in their home country may be able to register directly without assessment; please contact the RCVS to discuss this prior to submitting an application.

An applicant who has trained outside the EU will be required to apply for consideration of their qualification and home registration status in comparison with the UK qualification and other registration criteria before registration as a UK veterinary nurse can take place. The RCVS will consider each application separately.

Please visit www.rcvs.org.uk/registration/how-to-register/overseas-qualified-veterinary-nurses/ for more details.

Do I need to be registered to work as a veterinary nurse?

In order undertake all permitted procedures as a Veterinary Nurse then you do have to be registered.

How do I find work as a veterinary nurse?

Employment opportunities for veterinary nurses can be found in a number of ways; advertisements in veterinary magazines (Vet Times or VN Times), veterinary employment/locum agencies, website such as www.vetnurse.co.uk and word of mouth. Alternatively, you can deliver your CV/resume to veterinary practices 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 BVNA members have access to the Membership Helpline which offers advice on terms and conditions of employment.

The results from a salary survey of veterinary nursing jobs around the UK is also available through BVNA membership.

Is there a national association for veterinary nurses?

Yes, the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) is the representative body for veterinary nurses in the UK. See www.bvna.co.ukfor more information.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is the UK regulatory body for Veterinary Nursing. See www.rcvs.org.uk for more information.

What are the immigration requirements to work as a veterinary nurse?

Visitors from the EU will not need a visa however visitors from most other countries will require a visa and possible a letter of sponsorship to work in the UK. This will depend on country and length of visit, please visit www.gov.uk to check your requirements.

Listen to this webinar from October 2017 for an update on registering as a VN in the UK

Overseas Veterinary Nurses – Joining the UK Register