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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 or Care Centre. 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 practical work placement. This course should be considered a full-time course for the 10 weeks, as students will need to commit significant time to this course over that time. 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.



Please note that fees need to be paid at least 2 weeks before the commencement of the course. RSPCA NSW does not have formal payment plans for this course but will endeavour to have applications for the course open 12 weeks before the course start date to allow students time to gather fees and make payment of full fees 2 weeks before commencement.


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.

  • Blue Mountains Shelter in Katoomba (Tuesday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday)
  • Central Coast Shelter in Somersby and RSPCA Care Centre in Tuggerah (Tuesday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday). You will be required to attend both the shelter and care centre as part of your work placement.
  • Illawarra Shelter in Unanderra (Tuesday to Thursday or Friday to Sunday)
  • Sydney Shelter 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 Shelter 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
  • BSBCMM211 Apply communication skills

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 or Care Centre, 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.


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.

16th January 2023 – 26th March 2023

13th March 2023 – 21th May 2023

8th May 2023 – 16th July 2023

3th July 2023 – 10th September 2023

28th August 2023 – 5th November 2023

23th October 2023 – 14th January 2024 (includes break over Christmas period)

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.

Express your interest in Certificate ll in Animal Care

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