Animal Care

BTEC Level 2 Diploma

Course code
Type of study
Examination board

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This course is designed to improve your employment prospects by providing you with opportunities to develop your personal and vocational skills.

The course will prepare you for employment in pet shops, with animal collections, animal rescue and possibly veterinary surgeries. If you are already working in these areas you are invited to apply so that you may develop your knowledge and skills.

You must have a genuine interest in working with animals and have a caring personality. You must be highly motivated and be able to show a commitment to animal welfare.

You need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade D or above including English and Maths or Science or a Level 1 qualification and have a willingness to work in all conditions.

Previous employment with animals will help your application

Evidence of recent Tetanus vaccination

On this course you will study:

  • Work related experience in animal care
  • Animal accommodation
  • Animal feeding
  • Animal health and welfare
  • Introduction to animal and plant biology
  • Animal behaviour and handling
  • Care of exotic animals

The Animal Management Laboratories are large, bright rooms designed and built especially for teaching Animal Care and Animal Management Courses.

The purpose built spaces are bright with natural sunlight and enhanced air handling and ventilation systems, with facilities for washing and animal food preparation. The rooms have been designed to be easy to use for the care of animals as well as a practical teaching environment.

There is animal housing and large glass vivarium built into the walls that house snakes and lizards. Outside, a large yard has benching, aviaries and a stable as well as large grassed areas. Outside the yard is a clearing in the surrounding woodland that contains runs for ferrets, rabbits and chickens. There are block paved areas and a pond.

Coursework is includes producing written assignments and projects. You will also undertake practical work in the College Animal Unit and offsite at an equine establishment. There are 120 hours of work experience on this course which includes two weeks offsite at a placement. Your work experience may take place at veterinary practices, riding and livery yards, Sea Life Centre, catteries, kennels, grooming parlours, RSPCA, wildlife sanctuaries, rescue centres or pet shops.

There are no formal examinations. Assignments are graded Pass, Merit or Distinction.

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Everyone at the College was really helpful, and there’s lots of facilities, meaning it’s very easy to get your work done on time, and get good grades. The teaching and support was excellent, they were always on top of it, and made sure you got work done on time and you were challenged. Everyone is friendly and its really diverse, meaning you can get involved in lots of different things.

Conor Ward, BTEC student

South Downs College is a bright and happy place, everyone is kind and friendly to each other.

Megan Hall, A Level student

There are lots of people at the college, each studying a diverse range of courses, people from all different areas come to study at South Downs, it creates a sense of community, there is a huge social aspect to college life across all courses.

Lee Backhouse, BTEC student


You may wish to go on to the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management or go straight in to employment. You may find employment at your work experience placements.

You may also undertake further training whilst employed as a veterinary nurse, a dog groomer, in kennel management or in pet shop management.

What to do next

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