how to become a vet nurse

How to Become a Vet Nurse: A Complete Guide

Vet nurses are an important part of the veterinary healthcare system. Their role is to assist veterinary doctors by performing important tasks such as monitoring animals after a procedure. If you’re considering becoming a vet nurse, knowing the required qualifications, skills, and procedures will help you decide if it’s the right profession for you. In this guide, we’ll talk about what a vet nurse does, how to become a vet nurse, the specific skills required to be a successful nurse, and some frequently asked questions. Let’s dive in.

What’s a Vet Nurse?

Vet nurses are licensed professionals who work alongside veterinary doctors to help them bring sick animals to health. These nurses usually work in different animal healthcare facilities, including animal clinics, research centers, and hospitals.

Why Become a Vet Nurse?

If you’re passionate about helping animals, you may not need any other reason to become one. However, the profession does come with several attractive benefits. Here are a few:

Rewarding Profession

The average salary of a vet nurse in the UK is £20,454, making it one of the high-paying professions. The exact salary of an individual nurse, however, depends on their skill and experience.

It’s Global

Vet nursing is a global profession. All countries have animals that need professional help. Plus, nurses can travel to different countries to perform their jobs.

It’s Exciting

In vet nursing, no two days are the same, which means you won’t get bored of your job. Every day, you get new animals to take care of, new clients to work with, and new challenges to overcome.

What Does a Vet Nurse Do?

how to become a vet nurse...

A vet nurse is like an assistant to a vet doctor. They assist them in basic and advanced tasks such as:

  • Administering injections, drugs, and medications
  • Carrying out X-rays and diagnostic tests
  • Effectively communicating with pet owners and reassuring them
  • Nutritional management
  • Assisting with surgical procedures
  • Dental cleaning
  • Physical therapy
  • Give medications
  • Take X-rays
  • Maintaining records
  • Educating pet owners

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How to Become a Vet Nurse?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to becoming a vet nurse.


You need to graduate from high school before you can pursue a nursing degree.  Science and maths are the two subjects that can help with several veterinary tasks such as measuring medicine dosages.

Get a Degree in a Nursing Program

Depending on what you want to become, there are two types of veterinary programs. A two-year degree makes you a veterinary technician and with a four-year degree, you can become a veterinary technologist. During a nursing program, you may have to attend the following classes:

  • Biochemistry
  • Small animal nursing
  • Preventive healthcare
  • Anatomy
  • And more

Get Licensed & Earn a Certificate

You may have to get a license to practice as a vet nurse. Research the rules of your state before applying to a position. Plus, getting a certificate in a related field, such as veterinary nursing can help you get a job in some states. A certificate can help you niche down your expertise and stand out among other candidates for a job.

Gain Experience with Animals

Some experience with animals can help you get ahead of many fresh candidates for a vet nurse role. Plus, being around animals will help you decide if this profession is worth pursuing in the long run. To get some experience, you can work as a volunteer in an animal clinic or spend time in a local animal shelter.

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Skills Required to Be a Successful Vet Nurse

Skills Required to Be a Successful Vet Nurse

Knowing what skills you need to become a successful veterinary nurse can help you move forward with confidence. Here are the skills you will need to improve over time to solidify your career in veterinary nursing.


Vet nurses work with a veterinary doctor. They may have to deal with team members and hospital/clinic staff. Plus, pet owners depend on nurses for the necessary guidance. Therefore, having good communication skills can help nurses perform their duties better.

Team Work

Often, treating animals requires teamwork. As a nurse, you work with other employees to help animals recover from an illness or stay healthy, which makes teamwork an important element of the role.


Compassion is another important trait of a vet nurse as they sometimes have to give concerning news to pet owners.

Understanding of Animal Anatomy

Vet nurses help vet doctors treat different body parts of animals, which is why understanding animal anatomy is important.

Passion and Resilience

An important question to ask yourself before choosing vet nursing as a profession is whether you’re passionate about it. Being able to help animals is a great feeling, and the profession is quite rewarding, however, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. You may have to see animals in pain and still go through with the procedure successfully, for which you need emotional resilience and passion.

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How to Become a Vet Nurse: FAQs

Let’s address some frequently asked questions about becoming a successful vet nurse.

Is a Vet Tech and a Vet Nurse the Same?

While both help veterinarians perform their jobs, the qualifications and job responsibilities of a vet tech and a vet nurse may vary.

What Does a Veterinary Nurse Do?

A veterinary nurse assists a veterinary doctor in helping animals recover from sickness or injuries. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to, administering medicines, taking X-rays, maintaining records, educating pet owners, etc.

Is It Hard to Be a Veterinary Nurse?

Veterinary nursing can be an emotionally and physically draining job, but not if you’re passionate about helping animals. It’s also a rewarding, challenging, and exciting profession.


Vet nursing is a highly rewarding career, emotionally as well as financially. Like most professions, to become a vet nurse, you have to go through the process. It starts with graduating from high school and getting a degree in a nursing program. Then, you can get licensed and earn a certificate. As soon as you have the required qualifications, start working with animals to get experience. You can work as an intern, with a non-profit, or in a local animal shelter.

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