CAW Blog

The College of Animal Welfare

Clinical Coach and SVN
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Clinical Coach and SVN
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I want to study veterinary nursing, but I’m not employed in a veterinary practice. What are my options?

If you’re not employed in a veterinary practice, your options depend on how much work experience you have in a veterinary practice:

I have experience working in a veterinary practice

You may be eligible to apply for one of our programmes as a non-employed applicant. We consider applications from non-employed students for some of our programmes, on condition that you meet all other requirements (these will be outlined on the individual course pages below). However, please be aware entry onto these courses is competitive; therefore, you may wish to read more about how to strengthen your application.

I don’t have experience working in a veterinary practice

All our veterinary nursing courses require either work experience or employment in a veterinary practice prior to application, you can view entry requirements on our website. Therefore, you need to gain some hands-on experience before you meet the minimum entry requirements for many of our courses. As a starting point, we would suggest making contact with your local practices to check for opportunities. We have also compiled some additional advice here.

Training to become a veterinary nurse is a vigorous process, and the nature of training is heavily work-based. As a result, we are looking for students who are committed to attending practice and have a realistic understanding of what the role involves. This is why we ask all of our applicants to gain some work experience in a veterinary practice before applying for any of our courses.

Please see below for the work experience requirements for programmes that accept non-employed students:

Placements in Veterinary Practice

Please note that entry onto a course as a non-employed student relies on having a confirmed work placement in a veterinary practice. We have a dedicated Placement Liaison Team, who use connections with over 600 Training Practices (TPs) across the UK to source placements for non-employed students on our block release diploma and degree programmes. Whilst they are usually successful in this, it isn’t always guaranteed. As securing a place on the course relies on having a confirmed work placement, you can try to source your own placement in a veterinary practice. This practice must be an RCVS approved Training Practice (TP) or Auxiliary Training Practice (aTP), and the practice must be able to offer you clinical coach support. We have compiled some advice about sourcing work placements here.

Do you have any more questions? If so, feel free to connect with us on social media, email us at, call us on 01480 422060 or talk to us via web chat.

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