Certificate II in Animal Care

Taught by experts in animal welfare, RSPCA Victoria’s Certificate II in Animal Care (ACM20121) is offered in partnership with Box Hill Institute (RTO ID: 4687).

This qualification has given so many participants the life-changing opportunity of pursuing their dream of entering a career in the animal care industry, equipped with the head start of having practical experience at RSPCA Victoria.

Students undertaking this course will be enrolled at Box Hill Institute (BHI). RSPCA is contracted by BHI to deliver the training and assessment on behalf of BHI. Upon successful completion, students will receive certification from Box Hill Institute.

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Course Outline

The RSPCA delivery of the Certificate II in Animal Care course has a duration of 16 weeks and is delivered using a combination of online and face-to-face components.  Students will work with online learning tools including Box Hill Institute’s StudentWeb, Microsoft Teams and resources such as pre-recorded sessions, assigned reading, tutorials, discussion boards, and online activities. Students are also required to attend face-to-face classes and practical placements at RSPCA Burwood East or BHI Elgar/Lilydale campus.

Participants may be assessed on completion of written assignments, practical assessments, workplace simulations, online quizzes and participation in meetings and forums.

Practical activities will involve working hands on with a variety of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep, goats, horses and cows.

This course comprises a total of twelve (12) units of competency. Students must successfully complete seven (7) core units and five (5) elective units.

Core units

  • ACMGEN201 Work in the animal care industry
  • ACMGEN202 Complete animal care hygiene routines
  • ACMGEN203 Feed and water animals
  • BSBCMM211 Apply communication skills
  • ACMWHS201 Participate in workplace health and safety processes
  • ACMSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMGEN204 Assist in health care of animals

Elective units

  • ACMSPE320 Provide general care of mammals
  • ACMBEH302 Provide enrichment for animals
  • ACMGEN101 Explore job opportunities in animal care and related industries
  • ACMGEN205 Source and provide information for animal care needs
  • ACMGEN309 Provide basic animal first aid


This course takes two intakes per year, one in March and one in August. Before each group commences, there is a mandatory orientation and induction process. You will be advised of the date of orientation during enrolment. You must attend orientation to be able to continue in the course.

Teaching Sessions

Students must attend all teaching sessions held either online or face-to-face at RSPCA Burwood East.

Practical and Assessment Sessions

Students must attend all allocated practical sessions and assessment sessions.

Activities will include walking dogs, cleaning animal enclosures, feeding, packing and unpacking goods and paddock work.

Important Information

This program is not a VETDSS Program

This program does not provide credits towards the ATAR score for VCE students

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Application process

Apply directly via Box Hill Institute.

You must:

  • be at least 17 years old (parental/guardian consent is required for students under 18 years of age)
  • be able to attend teaching sessions, mandatory tutorial/study group sessions, and practical sessions at RSPCA Burwood and Box Hill Institute Elgar/Lilydale campus
  • bring your own laptop and charger. The laptop must be able to connect to wifi, and must have a working charger, microphone and camera (the camera and microphone do not need to be internal). Tablets, iPads, and mobile phones are not suitable devices for this course.
  • meet the language, literacy, numeracy, and digital capability requirements set for this course
  • supply evidence of your current tetanus vaccination at orientation
  • wear appropriate animal-handling clothing to all practical days, including flat/closed shoes, long, thick pants, and long hair tied back

You must also possess the physical ability to:

  • use animal care equipment (for example carry cages, opening kennel latch using reasonable grip and dexterity), and be able to use mops/brooms/pooper scoopers)
  • perform manual handling task (for example bending down to capture and restrain a variety of animal species, walking large and boisterous dogs)
  • perform repetitive tasks (for example reaching in to cages, bending, squatting, wiping surfaces, washing food bowls, brushing animals)
  • perform tasks that require visual and auditory skills (for example observing and identifying signs of disease and distress in animals)


To assist prospective students to determine whether a course is suitable and appropriate for the individual needs, Box Hill Institute will assess all students’ language, literacy and numeracy and digital literacy by asking you to undertake a self-assessment review prior to the enrolment.

A course advisor will discuss the outcomes of the review and make recommendations about whether the course is suitable for you, and identify additional support where required.

Important Information

All students under the age of 18 are required to supply written consent giving permission for BHI (Box Hill Institute) and RSPCA Victoria staff to communicate with a nominated adult on their behalf.

Eligibility to a government subsidised place depends on meeting certain criteria. For information regarding eligibility for a government subsidised place, please review the Box Hill Institute TAFE Fees and Charges. All students’ fees are determined by Box Hill Institute and are payable at time of enrolment.

Please note that currently enrolled high school students are not eligible to enroll.

NB: these costs are estimates only and are subject to change.

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Course Dates

Additional program Information

Course duration: 16 weeks

Your study pattern is ten days of classes spread over 7 weeks (some delivered on-campus at RSPCA Burwood or Box Hill Institute Elgar/Lilydale campus, some are delivered remotely over a variety of platforms).

Sessions are followed by tutorials/study groups. Some are optional and some are mandatory.

Optional tutorials/study group dates are organised at the end of the teaching sessions, and communicated with the student cohort.

There are seven practical sessions. Six practical sessions take place at RSPCA Burwood and one practical session takes place at Box Hill Institute Elgar/Lilydale campus. Students self-select their preferred practical session dates during Orientation. Practical sessions begin in the third week of the course with a number of date options provided to students for each rotation.

Times for all teaching sessions, tutorials/study groups, and practical sessions are provided during Orientation.

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Below are examples of roles in the animal care industry that a Certificate II in Animal Care may lead to:

  • animal carer
  • shelter attendant
  • pet store professional
  • kennel hand
  • cattery worker

Further Study through Box Hill Institute

Box Hill Institute has a number of courses to further your studies, experience and knowledge. More information can be found on their website.