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RSPCA NSW runs training programs about animal care and welfare.

ACM20121 Certificate ll in Animal Care

ACM20121 Certificate ll in Animal Care

ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care 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. 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 Care, please download the information sheet here.

For available course dates, 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.


Course snapshot

Course duration: 

Ten weeks intensive full-time.

Course structure:

This course is a blended delivery mode that encompasses online learning, face-to-face training, and includes practical work placement at  one of our RSPCA NSW Shelters. It should be considered a full-time course as students will need to commit significant time to their studies during the 10 weeks.

Please see the 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.


This training is subsidised by the NSW Government through Smart and Skilled Funding. The fee for your course enrolment will vary dependant on your eligibility and the availability of funding under this subsidy. You can review your eligibility for funding by visiting the Smart and Skilled Website.

Please note that funding is limited and may not be available to all applicants even if considered eligible. You will be advised of your course fee before commencing studies so that you can determine if you would like to proceed.

Course fees may range between $0 and $1340 for eligible student under Smart and Skilled funded positions.

For those not eligible, or where funding is not available, or those wishing to enrol as a non-funded student, the full course fee of $3120 is required.


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 (Tuesday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday).
  • 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)
  • Please note that regardless of your work placement location, all students must attend all face-to-face training days at the Sydney Adoption Centre in Yagoona for the classroom component of the course.


ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care. This qualification is nationally recognised.

Subjects studied:

Core (seven)

  • ACMGEN201 Work in the animal care industry
  • ACMGEN202 Complete animal care hygiene routines
  • ACMGEN203 Feed and water animals
  • ACMGEN204 Assist in health care of animals
  • ACMSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMWHS201 Participate in workplace health and safety processes

Compulsory electives (five)

  • ACMGEN205 Source and provide information for animal care needs
  • ACMBEH302 Provide enrichment for animals
  • ACMINF201 Handle companion animals safely and follow infection control guidelines
  • ACMSPE316 Provide general care of domestic dogs
  • ACMSPE317 Provide general care of domestic cats


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, 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.

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.

Course dates

The course dates listed below are indicative only and may be subject to change. To be notified of when course applications open, please fill out an Expression of Interest Form below.

8th July 2024 – 15th September 2024

2nd September 2024 – 10th November 2024

28th October 2024 – 19th January 2025 (including 2 week break over Christmas/New Year)

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.

Application Process:

Please  submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in undertaking the ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care below. Our administrators will contact all interested parties on the EOI list via email with an invitation to apply for the course.

Our team will review all applications in order of receipt and confirm your eligibility to study with us (we may need to contact you for further information). At this point we will also determine your eligibility and accessibility to any Smart and Skilled funding.

Please note that application does not guarantee a position in the course and will be limited by the number of spots allocated for each cohort, and work placement location.

Students successful in gaining a place in the course will be contacted to complete an enrolment form and will be provided with an estimated fee for course completion.

Please note that student fees must be paid at least 2 weeks prior to the course commencement. RSPCA NSW does not have formal payment plans for this course but will endeavour to open course applications at least 12 weeks prior to the course commencing, giving students time to gather fees and make payment by the due date.

Express your interest in Certificate ll in Animal Care

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