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RSPCA NSW runs training programs about animal care and welfare.

ACM20117 Certificate ll in Animal Studies

 ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies allows students to develop practical skills in animal care, and gain a real understanding of animal care and welfare requirements. It is a nationally recognised qualification, and an entry point into the animal care and management industry.

Students will learn the fundamental skills needed to care for domestic animals, and undertake a practical work placement at an RSPCA NSW shelter or Care Centre. Students are not required to find their own work placement.

The course will introduce students to the concepts of animal hygiene, providing basic animal first aid, communicating effectively with people, staying safe in an animal-related workplace and sourcing information about the needs of animals.

For full details regarding studying with the RSPCA NSW Training Team, please download the RSPCA NSW Training Team’s Student Handbook here.

For detailed information on the Certificate II in Animal Studies, please download the information sheet here.

For available course dates for 2021, please see below. Please note to be provided information and offered positions for when courses become available, an expression of interest form must be filled in. Your contact details will be held on file and you will be notified when any course dates are open for application.



With the ongoing risk of COVID-19 still present, our RTO late last year (2020), redesigned our course to reduce the number of face to face days required in a classroom, to present a Blended version of this course, which incorporates a mixture of online learning, face to face classroom sessions and practical work placement.

The online learning component consists of pre-recorded webinars along with live video online sessions. We will only be delivering this Blended version into the foreseeable future until COVID risks are no longer present.

Please see our COVID-19 Safety Plan for the RSPCA NSW Training Team here.


Course snapshot

Course duration: 

Ten weeks intensive full-time.

Course structure:

This course is a blended delivery mode which encompasses online learning, face to face training, and practical work placement. This course should be considered a full-time course for the 10 weeks, as students will need to commit significant time to this course over that time. Please see a proposed timetable for the course here. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A SAMPLE ONLY AND SLIGHT CHANGES ARE MADE TO THIS TIMETABLE FOR EACH DIFFERENT COHORT.



Please note that fees need to be paid at least 2 weeks before the commencement of the course. RSPCA NSW does not have formal payment plans for this course but will endeavour to have applications for the course open 12 weeks before the course start date to allow students time to gather fees and make payment of full fees 2 weeks before commencement.


Students are required to wear closed-in shoes, long pants and a sleeved shirt. A student polo shirt will be provided but all other items must be provided by the student.

Work placement locations:

Please check public transport availability for each location as some shelters have limited public transport options available.

  • Central Coast Shelter in Somersby and RSPCA Care Centre in Tuggerah (Tuesday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday). You will be required to attend both the shelter and care centre as part of your work placement.
  • Illawarra Shelter in Unanderra (Tuesday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday)
  • Sydney Adoption Centre in Yagoona (Tuesday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday).
  • Hunter Shelter in Rutherford– (Tues to Thursday or Friday to Sunday) We are currently seeking interest in the Hunter Area as we are working on the potential of having workplacement options there. Please complete the Expression of Interest form and we will contact you if places open up.
  • Please note that regardless of your work placement location, all students must attend all face to face training days at the Sydney Shelter in Yagoona for the classroom component of the course.


ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies. This qualification is nationally recognised.

Subjects studied:

Core (eight)

  • ACMGAS201 Work in the animal care industry
  • ACMSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMGAS202 Participate in workplace communications
  • ACMWHS201 Participate in WHS processes
  • ACMGAS203 Complete animal care hygiene routines
  • ACMGAS204 Feed and water animals
  • ACMGAS205 Assist in health care of animals
  • ACMGAS206 Provide basic first aid for animals

Compulsory electives (four)

  • ACMGAS208 Source information for animal care needs
  • ACMSPE304 Provide basic care of domestic dogs
  • ACMSPE305 Provide basic care of domestic cats
  • ACMGAS209 Provide information on companion animals, products and services


Why study with the RSPCA Training Team?

Our courses are nationally recognised and industry leading. You’ll gain a broad and unique perspective on the animal care industry through your work placement at an RSPCA NSW shelter or Care Centre, where all our staff members are dedicated to improving the lives of animals.

Plus, more than anything, animal welfare is at the forefront of our training. RSPCA trainers are industry professionals, and highly experienced animal carers.

RTO code: 70238

Entry requirements

There are no education requirements for entry into this course. However, due to RSPCA NSW policy, students must be at least 18 years old, with the appropriate approval to study or work in Australia. Please note that we are not a registered CRICOS provider, so cannot accept enrolments for those seeking to study with a student visa.

As our work placement will involve animal handling and manual lifting, it’s beneficial to have a reasonable level of physical fitness. Due to the nature of the animal industry, emotional resilience is advantageous.

Please note that you must be immunised against tetanus before commencing the course.

Given the online nature of the initial learning for this course, it is recommended that students have an intermediate level of computer literacy, and access to a computer or laptop device with a strong internet connection and webcam. It is recommended that Google Chrome is used to access our Learning Management System.


Course dates

The course dates listed below are indicative only and may be subject to change. To be notified of when course applications are opening for any course date, please fill out an Expression of Interest Form below. Your name will then be held on file and you will be notified when applications for a course open.

28th March 2022 – 5th June 2022

23rd May 2022 – 31st July 2022

18th July 2022 – 25th September 2022

12th September 2022 – 20th November 2022

7th November 2022 – 21st January 2023 (Includes break over Christmas Period)


Please note that undertaking training through RSPCA NSW does not guarantee an interview for a paid or volunteer position at RSPCA NSW. You can find a list of any available positions at RSPCA NSW here.

Pathways from this qualification

Job role titles covered by this qualification may include:

  • animal care attendant
  • animal shelter attendant
  • cattery attendant
  • kennel hand

Students who study this course may choose to go onto further study in related animal fields such as:

  • Veterinary Nursing
  • Captive Animals
  • Grooming
  • Animal Technology
  • Companion Animal Services

This course is eligible for students to apply for a concession card through Transport NSW. Applications must be made well in advance of the course start date. To apply for a concession card, please visit the Transport NSW website here. If you apply for a concession card, please notify the RSPCA NSW Training Team at training@rspcansw.org.au.

Certificate II in Animal Studies Application

Please read the information carefully and fill in the application form below. Please note that applications are assessed in order of receipt and availability of selected practical location. There are limited places available in each cohort and not all applicants will receive an offer of placement.

  • DD slash MM slash YYYY
    Please note applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Please indicate your preferred study location in the below table (1 will be your first preference, 4 will be your last preference). *

  • The RSPCA is committed to handling your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). You can read our Collection Notice here.