ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (HSC)

ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (HSC)

The Certificate II in Animal Care course is a Stage 6 Board Endorsed/ VET course offered to Year 11 or 12 students as a one year course (Terms 1 - 3).

It is an entry level for support roles in the animal care and management industry, where workers provide care for animals in workplaces such as animal shelters, boarding care facilities, sanctuaries and veterinary clinics

Course details

This course will give you an entry point into the animal care industry. This course enables you to develop the skills and knowledge required for the care and maintenance of animals including handling, feeding, grooming, health and hygiene practices.

  • This course includes a combination of in-class study and 5 x practical on site days at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. Face to face delivery is from 9:30am to 2:30pm one day per week 

  • There are two facilitated practical placement days when students are assessed for their practical skills and knowledge. On these two dates student will be required to attend Taronga Western Plains Zoo from 8.30am to 1pm 

  • This course does not run during NSW public school holidays 

  • The Certificate II in Animal Care course provides 4 units of credit for Preliminary (Year 11) or HSC (Year 12) students. Please be aware that this course does not count towards your ATAR.

Course entry requirements

  • Must be in Stage 6 at school 
  • Students are expected to attend all classroom lessons and  practical days 
  • Students must be an Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or New Zealand Citizen residing in Australia 
  • Students should have a good level of health and fitness in order to fully participate in the course 
  • Students must be able to make their own way to and from Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo .  
  • Students must have written permission from their school principal/careers advisor to participate in the course 
  • Students must have written permission from a parent/guardian to participate in the course 
  • Students are required to wear the provided Taronga Training Institute uniform and enclosed footwear at all times when attending Taronga Western Plains Zoo 
  • Students should bring a laptop computer (preferable) or tablet computer to classes 

Units of competency

Core Units

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

Elective Units

  • ACMGEN309 Provide basic first aid for animals
  • BSBOPS203 Deliver a service to customers
  • ACMGEN205 Source and provide information for animal care needs
  • ACMBEH301 Identify behaviours and interact safety with animals
  • ACMGEN314 Identify animal anatomy and physiology for animal care work

NOTE: All 12 units (7 core and 5 elective) must be completed successfully to gain the qualification of ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care.


Successful completion of ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care prepares you for entry level and support roles in the animal care and management industry, where workers provide care for animals in workplaces such as animal shelters, boarding care facilities, sanctuaries and veterinary clinics. In addition, further study options are available, including:

  • Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care;
  • Certificate III in Animal Technology; 
  • Certificate III in Companion Animal Services;
  • Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing

Please note Taronga Training Institute only offers the ACM30321 Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care. The other qualifications listed above can be completed at other registered training organisations. 

Please refer to Australian Training Sector website for further details on available courses.

Application process

Entry Requirements:

  • Enrolment in this course needs to be coordinated with the students’ school.
  • Students will be required to submit further documentation, upon request.
  • Students must meet the selection criteria and demonstrate good English and communication skills, both written and verbal, and basic numeracy skills
  • Applicants will be required to complete an enrolment form in due course. This will be forwarded to the Student by their school once a formal offer of a position has been made by Taronga Training Institute

Important: Acceptance into the course will be based on merit (subject to students meeting minimum entry requirements) and is NOT first in first served.

Terms and conditions

Please read carefully before applying

Please read carefully before applying. Please see below for terms & conditions and further instructions on how to apply.

  1. To be considered for a position within the ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (HSC), you must discuss your desire to apply with your school careers advisor/ EVET contact. Together you will need to submit an expression of interest form through the EVET portal. This is only accessible through school logins and cannot be accessed as an individual student. Only expressions of interest submitted through the EVET portal will be considered for the course. Expressions of interest sent via email or in paper form will not accepted. 
  2. The completion of the expression of interest form through the EVET portal does not constitute enrolment in the course. In accordance with the EVET timeline, once the EVET applications close your expression of interest will be evaluated through EVET. If successful, a position will be offered in the ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care with the Taronga Training Institute. Offers will be made through EVET to the corresponding student’s school. Schools with successful students will be required to accept or decline their students offer by the required deadline as set out in the EVET timeline. Offers will be made in line with the EVET timeline dates. Schools may withdraw a student’s application at any stage. Payment of fees should be discussed between school and student prior to submission of their expression of interest. 
  3. You understand that if successful in being offered a position in the course, additional documentation will be requested and required to be submitted within the deadlines given by Taronga Training Institute. Failure to do so may result in the student relinquishing their position in the course.  

  4. Students are required to commit to attending all classes on Thursdays in Term 1 – 3 (excluding NSW school holidays). Classroom lessons will be held one day per week from 9.30am to 2.30pm. Students will also be required to complete a total of five (5) onsite practical days and two (2) facilitated practical days additional to their weekly class day as a requirement of the course. Practical days will be scheduled in consultation with the student on weekends and throughout the NSW school holidays. 

  5. You understand that in order to be eligible to study with the Taronga Training Institute you must be an Australian Citizen, permanent resident of Australia or a New Zealand Citizen residing in Australia. 

  6. You understand that it is a requirement of this course that you wear the Taronga Training Institute student uniform when you attend classroom sessions and onsite practical days. Additional uniform items can be purchased at $50 per item. 

  7. The Taronga Training Institute is committed to minimising its use of paper. Students must have access to a computer to access course material, and upload assessments. The use of a laptop (preferred) or tablet in the classroom is necessary. Students are to be computer literate and able to access the internet to upload and download assessments and course work when required. 

  8. You understand if you enrol into a course with Taronga Training Institute you will be required to access the online student management system on a regular basis to receive and send communication to the institute. 

  9. You will answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your ability and you acknowledge that you have completed the application questions and you have not had any other person complete the application on your behalf. 

Student Work Health and Safety Considerations:

  1. Taronga Training Institute is required and committed to ensure that all prospective students satisfy the inherent requirements and job demands of the course for which they are being considered and that all students are safe in fulfilling the components of their course. This information is required for the purpose of assessing your fitness for participation in the course. Please Note: medical clearance may be required if requested by Taronga’s WHS Manager or the Taronga Training Institute Manager.
  2. Taronga may require students to be vaccinated at their own expense and you will be required to comply with any vaccination requirements of Taronga.
  3. Taronga Training Institute also reserves the right to include any other vaccinations as required. 
  4. Taronga Training Institute also reserves the right to include any other vaccinations as required.
  5. Taronga’s Veterinary and Animal Health Team in consultation with Taronga’s Work Health and Safety Manager would like to advise you that working in some areas of the Zoo poses a risk to both animals and humans in the transfer of tuberculosis. Taronga requires you to provide TB clearance prior to commencement if you are identified as being in a high-risk category for tuberculosis. You will need to provide TB clearance if you fit into any of the following categories:
  • Born overseas in a high TB incidence country
  • Lived overseas in a high TB incidence country for longer than 3 months
  • Have known exposure to a TB positive person

Please note: TB clearance is not required prior to acceptance of a position in the course

Please be advised that the risk of contracting TB is very low. However, you may choose to seek further advice from your health professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this course assessed?

Course assessments are a combination of written answers, reports, case studies, projects, practical activities, observations of students performing tasks, self-assessments and supervisor reports.

What is a facilitated practical day?

As a course requirement, all students must be assessed for specific practical requirements. In order to complete these requirements, it is necessary for students to be observed in a real working environment. A facilitated practical day involves students attending the Zoo and completing these practical requirements under the supervision of a qualified assessor. Morning routines of keeping staff are followed which means students will need to be on site ready for commencement as early as 8.30am.

How much work is involved in an accredited course?

Accredited training through the Taronga Training Institute involves mandatory classroom sessions, workshops and assessment days. Depending upon your course, you may also have a practical placement. In addition to these mandatory dates, you will have independent study and research, workbooks and other course related activities. We would expect that you will need to spend between 20-25 hours per week completing your course requirements depending upon your previous knowledge and skills.

Do you deliver courses to international students?

Under our obligations as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), students of the Taronga Training Institute must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident of Australia or a New Zealand citizen residing in Australia or hold an acceptable visa (with no study restrictions) and be approved by Taronga Training Institute. 

Accordingly, Taronga Training Institute does not currently deliver to students outside of these criteria and we do not delivery any accredited training via overseas or international partnerships. 

Do I have to wear a uniform?

When on site, Taronga Training Institute students are required to wear the Taronga Training Institute polo shirt which is provided and included in your course fees. Additional uniform items may be purchased at the start of the course. Please speak to your Support Officer during orientation for further details. 

Who is the registered course provider?

Taronga Training Institute, Registered Training Organisation No. 91359, is the course provider. Taronga is a leading wildlife tourism attraction and operates both Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. All qualifications gained will be issued by Taronga Training Institute.

Can I get a position as a volunteer while I am a student?

Yes, while studying with Taronga Training Institute, you are able to apply through Taronga's volunteer program. Please note that all volunteers must be over the age of 18 year to apply. However, if your course requires you to conduct practical placement, volunteer days are additional and TTI practical days must still be completed. Please note that being a Taronga Training Institute student will not automatically gain entry into our volunteer program. 

I have some general questions about studying with Taronga

We have captured most of the questions we have previously received either on our website or in our Student Handbook. Please thoroughly read both platforms and if you still have questions, you can email us at