Baglady24 Registered User


I'm just wondering has anybody on here done the Level 5 in St john's and do the modules cover Laboratory techniques, maths and biology?

My main aim is to apply to UCD to the degree programme next year but as I'm too late to apply this year I was going to apply to St Johns and do the Level 5 this Sept. is there was places available and if UCD or the other colleges will accept the modules covered . or would it be best off to get into a Veterinary practise for the year?

Also, if anyone has done both level 5 and 6, did ye progress to a degree programme in any of the colleges that provide Veterinary Nursing to degree level?

Sorry about all the questions, but I'm just trying to make the right decision.

All help is appreciated.


Whistlejacket Registered User

There are currently 5 accredited vet nursing courses in Ireland: St. Johns (1 year level 6 FETAC course after 1 year level 5 animal care course), Athlone, Dundalk and Letterkenny ITs (all 3 year level 7 degrees) and UCD (4 year level 8 degree).

There are basically 3 ways you can get a place on a vet nursing course:

1. Meet the leaving cert requirements as specified by each college (for example for DkIT you need a C3 in higher level biology or Ag. Science, AIT also accept Home Economics) and get the points required for a place.

2. Do a FETAC level 5 Animal Care course and apply to a college whose vet nursing degree is linked to that course and has a number of 1st year places reserved for FETAC applicants.

3. If you are over 23 you can apply as a mature applicant. There are no specific entry requirements for this but as it's a popular career the standard of applicants tends to be very high. Most successful candidates have other relevant qualifications and extensive experience working in the veterinary profession.

N.B. it's very important that you carefully check the entry requirements for each of the courses/colleges that you wish to apply to. They vary between colleges, so you can't assume that what works for one will apply to all.

The level 5 in St. Johns is the Animal Care course (which is also available in a number of other FETAC colleges e.g. Drogheda, Mallow, Killester etc.).

St. Johns also run a Level 6 1 year follow on course in veterinary nursing. Once you complete this you can register with the Veterinary Council as a veterinary nurse, so if you complete that there would be no point in trying to transfer on to a level 7 or 8 course in veterinary nursing in another college.

You would need to contact St. Johns for specific advice about getting a place on their level 6 course. Vet nursing is very popular so they may be filling their places from within their own level 5 course. Likewise, you will need to contact UCD to see what their specific entry requirements are.

You can register as a vet nurse with the Veterinary Council of Ireland once you complete any of these 5 courses, the difference between them is in regards to how long they take and the amount of content. Obviously you will have the time to cover more material and in more depth over a specific 3 or 4 year vet nursing degree. A 2 year animal care/vet nursing course that leads to a vet nursing qualification will primarily focus on the key vet nursing skills and knowledge.

If you want to work in a practice as a registered vet nurse it doesn't really matter which course you complete. If you would like to maybe go on to further study some day then you should consider the level 7 or 8 courses, they also have a lot more places available on a national basis.

Finally, if you are interested in veterinary nursing as a career then it's a really good idea to spend as much time as possible in a veterinary practice that employs registered veterinary nurses (RVNs), so that you can experience the job first hand. The day to day realities can be very different from what people expect and, although highly rewarding, it's generally not a very well paid job so it's important that you're sure it's the right career for you before you commit to it.

Best of luck with it.

2 people have thanked this post
Baglady24 Registered User

Jee, thanks for all the information.

I have been speaking with UCD and they told me that St. Johns Animal courses don't meet the criteria, but i had thought that a course in animal care would show that you have interest in the area etc. They told me to gain as much experience in animal handing with as many species as I can.

I must ring Athlone, Dundalk and Letterkenny tomorrow and see what they require.

Maybe my best bet is just to work in a veterinary practise for the next year or so if I can.

lido84 Registered User

I completed a Fetac level 5 course in killester college in 2011/2012 and i am now going to be starting in UCD really soon. I did get all my distinctions but was accepted through the mature student route but the fact i got my distinctions of course helped. Using the fetac route to get in will require hard work as it is very competitive and you will need to get top marks in all your modules to even be considered but if it is what you really want then i say go for it

khen59 Registered User

Hi there,
Can you tell me if there is any way of doing Veterinary Nursing if I am doing a Fetec Level 5 - Nursing Studies?

thegreatgonzo Registered User

You can apply through the CAO, any Science subjects you are doing in your Fetac course might be helpful but might not if they have enough candidates with the required leaving cert points or an Animal Care Fetac from a college that has an arrangement with the college you have applied to. Getting some experience with animals would be useful for your application though. Each of the colleges that offer vet nursing seem to have different criteria.

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