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Animal Care Level 2 Diploma

  • Level(s) of Study: Further education
  • Start Date(s): September 2024
  • Duration: One year
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: Brackenhurst Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


This practical, hands-on course will give you the skills to care for a wide range of animals. You’ll study the feeding, handling and housing of animals. You’ll also learn about protecting the natural environment, wild plants and animals.

Download a course brochure

Course leader Sarah Heckford is available on Unibuddy to answer any questions you may have about our Animal Care course.

  • Brackenhurst is set in stunning countryside just a bus ride away from Nottingham city centre, next to the town of Southwell.
  • At Brackenhurst, you’ll have access to incredible facilities. These include an Animal Unit, Equestrian Centre, laboratories, library and gardens and fields that are overflowing with plants and wildlife.
  • Studying with us means that you’ll be a part of an amazing learning environment. You get all the perks of being part of a big university, but you will still enjoy the comforts of a friendly college.

What you’ll study

You'll take part in practical hands-on lessons and learn about a wide range of animals, using our fantastic facilities.

Practical Animal Health

Learners develop skills in practical animal health, disease/parasite prevention, cleaning and care, and essential animal grooming techniques for a range of animal species.

Introduction to Animal Biology and Health

Learners gain the knowledge and understanding of animal biology needed for practical animal health and disease management.

Animal Care Work Placement

Learners develop skills and behaviours required for successful working in the animal care sector. This unit requires learners to spend 75 hours in a real working environment.

Animal Welfare

Learners study the approaches to animal welfare, including the five animal needs, health and safety, and animal law.

Animal Behaviour Assessment and Safe Handling

Learners develop skills in recognising normal and abnormal behaviours in a range of animal species and apply safe handling and restraint techniques that minimise stress in animals.

Feeding, Accommodating and Moving Animals

Learners study a range of practical skills concerned with the day-to-day care of animals, including feeding, handling and providing appropriate accommodation.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Our current students and recent graduates tell you all about their time at NTU and what they've gone on to do next.

Student Profiles

Emily Thompson

Animal Care

I love being a student here; I want to study here forever.

Felicity Taylor-Peck

Animal Care

The teachers are all extremely friendly and they do a brilliant job at making sure we are on the right track; they also offer advice and support for making decisions about the future.

Video Gallery

Take a look at why you should study your college course at Brackenhurst. You can also learn more about the equipment you'll use and what you'll study on the course with our facility tour video.
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How you’re taught

You’ll learn in our fantastic facilities and be taught by tutors who have real-life experience of working within the animal industry. You can expect the course to be split so that approximately 30% is practical work and 70% is theory work.

You will be taught through lectures, group discussions and practical demonstrations. You’ll also get to go on trips to various locations.

The course includes a work placement. This allows you to develop your skills and knowledge in the animal industry, and looks good to future employers. You can work at places like veterinary centres, boarding kennels, catteries, or zoos.

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed through written assignments, external practical assessments and exams.

Staff Profiles

Sarah Heckford

Subject Leader

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Sarah Heckford is the Subject Leader for Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care and Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal management. She is responsible for teaching students about animal welfare

Careers and employability

After completing this course there are a number of options and routes that you can take.

If you get a Distinction, you'll be able to do the Level 3 courses in Animal Management or Countryside Management (Wildlife Conservation).

After completion of your Level 3 course you could then choose to continue your studies and go onto a degree or choose a career in an animal-related industry.

Future jobs within the animal industry include:

  • Animal Carer Assistant- you can earn up to £21,000
  • Cattery / Kennel Technician - you can earn up to £23,000
  • Wildlife Reserve Worker - you can earn up to £24,000
  • Dog Groomer - you can earn up to £27,500
  • Farm Worker - you can earn up to £25,000

Placement opportunities

Work placements are a great way to broaden your skills. You will have the opportunity the take part in work experience in a range of animal-related organisations. We have a wide network of links within the industry which will enable you to get the best placements.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Study an animal course at Brackenhurst and you’ll have access to some fantastic facilities.

Our specially designed Animal Unit is home to over 250 animals from around 70 different species. These include small animals such as rabbits, cats, dogs, reptiles and birds, as well as larger animals like goats and donkeys. All our animal courses include hands-on, practical lessons at the unit. You’ll also help our technicians to care for the animals on a day-to-day basis.

As well as your subject-specific facilities, you’ll also find:

  • a library, including fully equipped computer rooms
  • modern classrooms and teaching areas
  • laboratories
  • our careers and employability service
  • a dining room and Costa Coffee
  • our student shop
  • a common room.

Entry requirements

For 2024 entry you'll need:

  • GCSE Maths or English Language at grade 4 / C or above with the other subject at grade 3 / D or above.
  • GCSE Science at grade 3 / D or above.
  • An additional one GCSE at grade 3 / D or above.
  • We will accept students with grade 3 / D in Maths or English Language where the other subject is at least grade 4 / C. You will need to complete Maths or English Language GCSE retakes as a mandatory part of your study programme.

Equivalent qualifications will be considered.

You will also be required to attend an interview.

Applications are welcome from mature and international students.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299.

We welcome applications from international students. Please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299 to discuss how your qualifications match our course requirements.

Fees and funding

If you are aged 16-18 and applying for a Level 2 or 3 course

There are no course fees if you’re aged under 19 on 31 August of the year you start your course.

If you are aged 19+ and applying for a Level 2, Level 3 or Access to Higher Education course

If you’re studying your first full Level 3 or Access to Higher Education qualification you may be eligible for free tuition. You will still need to pay the registration fee applicable for your course.

If you are applying for the Level 2 qualification or have already completed a full Level 3 qualification, tuition and registration fees will apply.

To cover the cost of tuition when applying for a Level 3 and Access to Higher Education qualification, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan from the UK Government. It is easy to apply, your household income is not taken into account and there is no credit check. You will not have to pay anything back until your income is over £25,000.

Please visit fees and funding information for more information.

Please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299 for more information on fees and funding.

How to apply

Applying is really easy. Follow our step-by-step guide below.

Fill in an application form

  • Download an application form. Remember to show your passion for your chosen subject in your personal statement.
  • Provide contact details for two referees - usually one teacher from your current School or College and one character reference which could refer to any volunteering, work experience or hobbies you may have (i.e. Sea Scouts, sports clubs etc.). Alternatively, this can be a long standing family friend or neighbour.

Come for an interview

  • If you meet the criteria for the course, we’ll invite you in for an interview. We’ll send you details of what will happen on the day in advance through the post. Don’t panic! Our tutors are really friendly and will help you to do your best.

Get your offer

  • We’ll write to you and let you know how you got on at the interview. Hopefully we’ll be able to offer you a place on the course. This offer might be conditional on your upcoming exam results – for example GCSEs.

Accept your offer

  • You need to tell us that you want to accept your offer of a place by returning your confirmation slip to us or calling us on 0115 848 5299.

Get your exam results

  • If you’re taking GCSEs or other exams, you’ll get your results over the summer. Once you’ve got your results you need to let us know what they are. Then we can confirm your place.

Start at Brackenhurst

  • We’ll send out all the information you need to start with us in the post at the end of August. We hold an enrolment day in the first week of September. This allows you to get your student ID and start meeting your new friends and tutors.

Any questions?

Just drop us a line – we’re here to help every step of the way. You can email us or give us a call on 0115 848 5299.

Please email our FE Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 5299 for more information on how to apply.