The course delivery is based around our Animal Rescue Centre (ARC), which has on-site veterinary facilities, and will give you the opportunity to gain necessary knowledge and practical skills required to work with a variety of animal species. The ARC provides care for a selection of resident exotic animals and small mammals, but also provides assessment and care for a wide range of presenting native wildlife casualties e.g. hedgehogs, seals, otters, birds of prey and garden bird species, co-ordinating the rehabilitation and intended release of these animals as appropriate.
Your participation and studies will not only benefit you, but the animals within the centre and beyond. Established links with the RSPCA, conservation organisations and local veterinary practices provide a very real experience and a network for you to explore future career opportunities.
Work placement experience is also included as a requirement in completing this qualification, and we have links with a range of animal care sector employers with whom we are often able to arrange placements. Work placement experience can take place in a wide range of environments e.g. veterinary surgery, boarding and day care provision, dog groomer, zoo, pet shop, stables and farms.
You will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of trips to zoos and other animal care settings. There are also opportunities to take part in activities such as wildlife population surveying, conservation campaigns and fundraising events. We encourage the participation of visiting speakers, who can also provide valuable information to the learners regarding potential careers e.g. police dog handlers, conservation work
This course usually takes place over 3 days per week for two years.
You will complete the National Foundation Diploma in the first year and the National Extended Diploma in the second year. The two-year course is equivalent to 3 A-Levels and is worth up to 168 UCAS points (Triple Distinction*) or 144 UCAS points (Triple Distinction).
All of our learners will be given support with their English and Maths skills where relevant to their main course.
Mandatory units are:
- Animal Breeding and Genetics (externally assessed)
- Animal Biology (externally assessed)
- Animal Welfare and Ethics (externally assessed)
- Practical Animal Husbandry
- Animal Behaviour
- Animal Health and Diseases
- Investigative Research Project
- Work Experience in the Animal Sector
There are also a range of other units which may vary from year to year but might include e.g. Principles of Animal Nursing, Aquatic Health and Husbandry, Human and Animal Interaction, Exotic Animal Husbandry, Zoological Animal Health and Husbandry, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Management.
A total of 15 units will be completed over the two-year programme.
Assessment is achieved through assignments (including essays, practical reports, posters and oral presentations) and external assessments which include examinations. A significant part of the assessment is achieved through logging specific practical activities in the Animal Rescue Centre and work placement experience.
Our Animal Care staff hail from a range of backgrounds, all specialising in their respective disciplines including marine biology, veterinary, zoology, primatology and conservation.
Dr Lisbeth Tuckey is our resident veterinary surgeon with many years of clinical veterinary experience. She is particularly passionate about UK wildlife and is fundamental in allowing the College to run our wildlife rehabilitation centre. Lisbeth works closely with students, sharing her expertise and allowing them to get involved in practical procedures.
Sarah Neill is a marine biologist and expeditioner, with a love for anything that swims! She is also Cumbria Coordinator and Marine Mammal Medic for British Divers for Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) where she rescues marine mammals in need of help. Sarah has so much knowledge to share and inspires the learners daily with her exciting stories of missions to save animals.
Collectively, our tutors provide a wealth of knowledge to inspire, teach, and prepare our learners for their next steps in life as academics or animal professionals. The College has connections with many conservation and animal related organisations including RSPCA, BDMLR, Mountain Marmosets Conservation Program, Animals Asia, Frog Life and many more!
Five GCSEs at grade 5, including Maths English, and Science.
After Your Course
This course is equivalent to 3 A-Levels, allowing learners to progress onto higher education courses such as Marine Biology, Veterinary Nursing, Wildlife Conservation, Zoology or Animal Science. Learners may also progress into apprenticeships in animal management, veterinary nursing or into careers such as an assistant zookeeper or animal technician.
The fee displayed is the course fee. Course fees are per year for full-time courses and per course for part-time courses.
There may be other costs associated with this course, e.g. kit, equipment, books, trips etc. Financial support may be available to support you with these. See the Student Money pages for more information.
The current full-time & degree-level fee information is related to the 2023/24 academic year.
Level 3-6 Courses
Advanced Learning Loans are available for students aged 19 or over and studying eligible level 3, 4, 5 & 6 courses. If you are on an Access course, the loan will be written off if you complete a degree.
You may qualify for financial support to cover the cost of a Level 3 qualification if you do not already have a Level 3 qualification (this will depend on the course & your age on 31/08/23).
Please speak to Student Services for more information on course fees.
The fees displayed are for the one-year AS-Level course. If you would like to progress onto the full A-Level, please get in touch with us for the cost of the second year, as it will be different.
16-18 year olds
There are no course fees if you were aged 16-18 on 31/08/23 and are not studying at another institution.