New Zealand Certificate in Animal Care (Companion Animals) (Level 3)


Closed to new enrolments
This programme is delivered fully online. Watch our video to see what online study with Open Polytechnic is like.

Entry requirements

To gain entry into this qualification, you need to have the following:

  • NCEA Level 1 or equivalent
  • Applicants may be asked to provide a copy of their Criminal Convictions History to be reviewed and approved by their work placement.
  • Applicants must provide evidence that they have a current Tetanus vaccination
  • Applicants planning to complete the programme within the Companion Animal context must have access to companion animals in workplace(s) or organisation(s) in the companion animal sector, or in similar locations. This is required to ensure applicants can complete the practical work required, caring for a minimum of three animal species: cats, dogs, birds/poultry or rabbits/rodents in a non-production context.

20 years old or over

If you are 20 and don’t hold the minimum entry requirements you will be eligible to be enrolled where your previous educational, work or life experience indicates you have a reasonable likelihood of success.


Work Experience Requirements

The programme includes a requirement for students to complete 70 hours of work placement in an Animal Care organisation. Practical work placement is included as a requirement for all courses.
This could include working in organisations such as:

  • pet shops
  • animal care clinics
  • boarding kennels
  • animal control or rescue organisations
  • or similar 

This is a compulsory part of all the courses, as the activities give you context for your assessment. Students must be caring for at least three species of animals: cats, dogs, birds/poultry or rabbits/rodents in a non-production context. You will need to complete assessments, which include a minimum number of hours of workplace practice to show competency.

To confirm your work placement:

  • You must have a workplace supervisor who can oversee and verify your work
  • You, your employer, and the workplace verifier will need to complete an agreement as part of the enrolment form

You can access the Employer and Verifier Workplace Agreement forms below.  However, you will also be asked to nominate your employer during the online enrolment application process and they will be emailed their form automatically to complete. They will nominate your verifier and the verifier will be emailed their form automatically to complete.

You need to provide all documentation before we can finish processing your application.

 If you have any questions about these requirements you can email


English language requirements

Domestic students for whom English, Māori or New Zealand sign language is not their first language must also have an IELTS (General or Academic) score of 5.0 with no band score lower than 5.0, or equivalent.


International students and domestic students living overseas

This programme is not open to International students living overseas or in New Zealand, or New Zealand Domestic students living overseas.

Computer and internet requirements

This programme is delivered online. To complete this programme you will need access to a laptop or desktop computer, reliable broadband internet connection and a data plan able to support online learning such as streaming of videos (including YouTube), downloading content, and writing and submitting online assessments. If you are unsure if your current computer or internet access allows you to complete your online learning with us, please contact us before applying to enrol.