Animal Care Courses at Derby College

Animals need the attention and care of highly skilled and dedicated professionals. If you bond well with animals and enjoy practical hands-on work, this industry offers fulfilling career choices.

Is this you?

  • An interest in working with animals
  • The ability to handle animals confidently
  • A patient and calm approach with animals
  • A sense of responsibility and reliability
  • The ability to cope with upsetting situations such as working with injured or mistreated animals
  • A willingness to do dirty or unpleasant tasks
  • A willingness to work anti-social hours such as early mornings, evenings and weekends

Getting into animal care

animal care

  • Full time at College There is a range of full-time intermediate and advanced Animal Care courses offered at Derby College to cater for Students at different stages of knowledge and experience.
  • Apprenticeships Derby College offers an intermediate apprenticeship in Animal Care. An apprenticeship would give you the opportunity to gain practical experience of the industry alongside a recognised qualification.
  • Higher educationMany jobs within the animal care sector – such as pet shop assistant, dog groomer, kennel or cattery assistant or rescue centre worker – do not require a specific higher education qualification for entry. However, to become a veterinary nurse, you can choose to train ‘on the job’ or you can opt to work towards higher education qualifications and take a relevant foundation degree.
  • Jobs You can enter the sector with no qualifications through roles such as a pet shop assistant. These roles usually provide ‘on the job’ training and sometimes the opportunity to work towards relevant qualifications. For many jobs, emphasis is placed on your skills, qualities and, importantly, any experience you’ve had. You can gain relevant experience on a full-time course or an apprenticeship in Animal Care or by undertaking voluntary work with organisations like the RSPCA, PDSA or Cats Protection League.

Why choose Derby College?

  • The busy Animal Centre at our Broomfield Hall campus is an inspiring place to study for anyone interested in all creatures great and small.
  • You’ll gain hands-on experience of caring for farm animals, small animals, exotic species and rare breeds. We also run a professional dog grooming salon where you can work in a real-world setting.
  • Our approachable and enthusiastic staff come from a wide range of backgrounds, including zoo-keeping, veterinary nursing, farming and animal psychology.
  • Your learning will be brought to life thanks to our strong links with employers such as zoos, vet surgeries, rescue centres, animal welfare and conservation organisations.
  • Our networks even extend overseas: some of our Students have headed as far afield as Lapland and South Africa to see animal care in action in different settings.
  • You can choose from a broad variety of study options, including apprenticeships and short specialist courses in everything from dog grooming to skunks! If you want to take your learning to a higher level, there’s a Foundation Degree in Animal Management too.

Where better to study Animal Care than at Derby College? You’ll work as part of a dedicated team of professionals, surrounded by animals at our specialist land-based campus.


Derby College Course Listings - Animal Care


PT Animal Experience: Site Broomfield Hall

FT Diploma - Land-based Studies in Animal Care - Level 1 : Site Broomfield Hall

FT Advanced Technical Diploma in Animal Management - Level 3: Site Broomfield Hall

FT Award - Land Based Studies in Animal Care - Level 1: Site Broomfield Hall

FT BSc (Hons) Animal Management (Top Up): Site Broomfield Hall

PT BSc (Hons) Animal Management (top-up) Part Time: Site Broomfield Hall

FT BSc (Hons) Animal Management (Zoo and Wildlife) (Top Up): Site Broomfield Hall

FT Certificate - Land Based Studies in Animal Care - Level 1: Site Broomfield Hall

PT Emergency Canine First Aid : Site Broomfield Hall

FT FdSc Animal Management (Zoo and Wildlife): Site Broomfield Hall

FT FdSc Animal Management (Zoo and Wildlife): Site Broomfield Hall

FT FdSc Animal Management Year 2: Site Broomfield Hall

PT FdSc Animal Management Year 3 (Part Time): Site Broomfield Hall

FT Foundation Degree in Animal Management (FdSc) (Full-time: 15 hours per week): Site Broomfield Hall

PT Foundation Degree in Animal Management (FdSc) (Part-time: 8 hours per week): Site Broomfield Hall

PT Introduction to Emergency Canine First Aid - October: Site Broomfield Hall

PT Introductory Emergency Canine First Aid - February : Site Broomfield Hall

PT Junior Zoo Club (1 day): Site Broomfield Hall

PT Junior Zoo Club - (four days): Site Broomfield Hall

PT Keeper for the Day: Site Broomfield Hall

FT Level 2 Animal Care and Welfare Assistant Apprenticeship - Standard: Site Workplace

FT Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care: Site Broomfield Hall


PT Schools 14-16 - BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Animal Care: Site Broomfield Hall

Full Time Courses Full Time Courses Part Time Courses Part Time Courses

Maths and English

You need English and maths skills to get on in life. They will support your studies at the College, help with everyday tasks and pave the way to future career success.

If you don’t already have a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and Maths – or equivalent qualifications – you will continue studying these subjects as part of your course at Derby College.

We’ll support you all the way: working with you on the right programme of development throughout your time with us.

You might also be interested in ...

When you’ve completed your course, why not broaden your horizons further still at Derby College? Additional qualifications in subjects such as Conservation, Agriculture and Horse Care are exciting choices. Or check out our courses in Business, Enterprise and Management if you would like to set up a venture of your own.

Take a 360 Degree Tour of our Animal Care Facilities

Maths & English

Find out how Maths and English can benefit you.

Annie Dowell

Annie Dowell

Kennel owner Annie loved every minute of Animal Care course

For former Derby College student Annie Dowell getting a job working with animals was inevitable.And, thanks in part to the practical work experience and the qualifications she gained on her Animal Care level 3 course; she now runs a boarding kennels.Annie first got to know Coppice Kennels and Cattery in Melbourne while at Derby College and later took a Saturday job there as a dog walker.After leaving College with a triple distinction she went on to take a dog grooming course at Broomfield and then worked at dog re-homing centres in Wales and Spain.In 2012 she took over the running of Coppice Kennels and is now responsible, with fiancé Matt for looking after 40 dogs, 15 cats as well as up to five foster dogs.Annie loved her time at College – especially the caring for wildlife part and gaining work experience at Twycross Zoo.

She said: "I loved absolutely every minute of my course and wish I could do it all again. I'm always recommending Broomfield to our dog walkers, who are young and keen to get into animal care."

Did you Know?

  • Animal care is worth £1 billion to the UK
  • Nearly 223,000 people work in animal care in the UK, across over 20,000 businesses
  • 86% of animal care businesses employ five people or less
  • 71% of the animal care workforce are women
  • It is expected that, by 2020, the industry will need at least 90,000 new entrants

Examples of recent vacancies locally

Kennel Assistant
National Minimum Wage.
Feeding, exercising and looking after dogs

Senior zoo keeper
£24,000 per year.
Looking after animals and liaising with visitors

Veterinary nurse
Up to £24,000 per year.
Assisting the vet and advising pet owners on animal welfare

Veterinary surgeon
£31,000+ per year
Graduate starting position in a practice

Site Information

Broomfield Hall

Courses in this area are run at our Broomfield Hall campus. About Broomfield Hall »

Useful Website
Advice from the sector skills council for land-based and environmental sectors

Accommodation for Learners

We offer residential accommodation at Broomfield Hall for DerbyCollege learners. Find Out More »


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