ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (Sydney)

ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care (Sydney)

The Certificate II in Animal Care is an entry level course for those who are interested in working in the animal care industry, where care is provided for animals in workplaces such as animal shelters, kennels, catteries, sanctuaries and veterinary clinics.

The Certificate II in Animal care will help develop knowledge and skills through a combination of weekly theory lessons and activities held within the Zoo.

Course details

Course Format:

  • Face to face daytime classes once per week from 9am to 2pm
  • All students must attend two (2) additional on-site facilitated practical assessment days from 7.00am to 3pm
  • This course runs for a 6 month period

Study Load: There are a total of 12 units of competency to be completed to a satisfactory level. This includes weekly face to face classes, workshops, practical assessment days and facilitated practical requirements. Independent study, research, workbooks and assessments are completed in your own time. It is estimated that you will spend approximately 25 hours per week completing the course requirements.

Course entry requirements

  • Students must be a minimum of 16 years of age on commencement of the course
  • Students are expected to attend all mandatory dates which include classroom lessons , practical assessment days, facilitated practical days and workshops. 
  • Students must be an Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident New Zealand Citizen  residing in Australia or hold an acceptable visa (with no study restrictions) and be approved by Taronga Training Institute.
  • Students should have a good level of health and fitness in order to fully participate in the course
  • Students should demonstrate good English and communication skills, both written and verbal, and basic numeracy skills and will be required to undertake a Language, Literacy and Numeracy skills test to ensure you have the necessary skills to complete the course requirements.

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 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

      Applications now closed

      Mid-year intake applications open in February of each year for commencement in July. Beginning year intake applications open in August for commencement the following January. 

      Taronga is an equal opportunity organisation and encourages people from diverse backgrounds to apply to study with us. The application process is used to help determine your suitability to complete the course in conjunction with the support of Taronga Training Institute staff and trainers.  

      The online application process is used to determine your suitability within the course. Ensure you spend time reading the questions and completing your application before submitting. Please note that the application form is not designed to be completed on a mobile device. Please use a laptop or desktop computer when applying.

      All applications must be submitted online during the application opening period. Any applications received after the closing date will not be accepted.

      All applicants must:

      • Read the Course Information above and ensure you can meet the requirements of the course before lodging an application
      • Read the Taronga Training Institute Student Handbook prior to completing an application
      • Complete ALL questions in the online application. Incomplete applications will not be accepted and cannot progress any further
      • Read the terms and conditions below before applying - proceed to apply only if you agree and can comply with the conditions 

      During the online application process you will be required to provide the following your Unique Student Identifier (USI).

      • On submission of your application you should receive a confirmation email to the email address you provided within your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email from Taronga Training Institute within 24 hours, please first check your junk email, before contacting us at
      • If your application is processed, you will be offered an interview with Taronga Training Institute staff. During this interview your suitability to the course will be evaluated and a judgement will be made by Taronga Training Institute staff
      • If your application is successful, you will be required to accept your position and complete the enrolment requirements within 72 hours. You may be required to pay a portion of your course fees shortly after your enrolment. If you are offered a Smart & Skilled position, this fee will be refunded less any student contributions

      Course dates

      July 2024 intake

      Orientation Day for all classes will be held 1 week before your first class from 10am to 2pm.

      It is vital that you attend this Orientation to obtain all of the information you need to commence your course.

      Classes for the January intake commence during the last week of January and will continue on a weekly basis until the end of June.

      Classes for the July intake commence during the first week of July and will continue on a weekly basis until early December.

      A full schedule of dates will be provided upon successful application into the course. Please note that if any of your classes fall on a public holiday, they will be rescheduled to the next business day.

      All students are required to attend two (2) facilitated practical days on site for assessment purposes. Students will have a choice of which days they prefer. Please note that facilitated practical days will commence at 7:00am and finish at 3.00pm.

      Monday class:

      • Orientation: 8th July 2024
      • Starting: 15th July 2024
      • Finishing: 9th December 2024

      Tuesday class:

      • Orientation: 9th July 2024
      • Starting: 16th July 2024
      • Finishing: 10th December 2024

      Terms and conditions

      Please read carefully before applying

      By completing this application you acknowledge the following conditions:

      1. Your application will be evaluated and if you are successful, you will be offered a position in the ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care with the Taronga Training Institute.  Commercial course fees can be paid in full or in two equal instalments. The first instalment is due within two weeks of the offer being made. Any students awarded a Smart and Skilled subsidised position will be required to pay the student component of fees upon acceptance of a position in the course. NOTE: No payment of course fees is required until you are offered a position in the course and the offer being accepted at which time payment of course fees will be required.
      2. The completion of your application does not constitute enrolment in the course. All applications will be reviewed based on eligibility and merit. Applicants deemed most suitable, based on their response to the selection criteria questions contained within the application will be invited to attend an onsite or online interview after applications close. You may withdraw your application at any stage, prior to being offered/accepting a position.
      3. You understand that if you are successful in being offered a position in the course you will be assigned to a class and you are committed to attending all classes on the dates listed.  
      4. Attendance is expected at ALL classes; attendance of less than 80% of classes may result in the missed unit/s of competency needing to be repeated at the student's expense prior to being eligible for the issue of a qualification.
      5. You understand that to be eligible to study with the Taronga Training Institute you must be an Australian Citizen, permanent resident of Australia, New Zealand Citizen residing in Australia or hold an acceptable visa (with no study restrictions) and be approved by Taronga Training Institute. Please note: Visa holders are encouraged to contact Taronga Training Institute prior to lodging an application to confirm their eligibility to study with us.
      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. The course fee includes one polo shirt. Additional uniform items can be purchased at $50 per item.
      7. The Taronga Training Institute is committed to minimising its use of paper. As such you confirm you 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. You are computer literate and can 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.

      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 Zoo.
      3. Taronga Training Institute also reserves the right to include any other vaccinations as required.
      4. 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 7.00am.

      How much work is involved in an accredited course?

      Accredited training through the Taronga Training Institute involves mandatory classroom sessions, tutorials, 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 TTI, you are able to apply through Taronga's volunteer program. Please note that all volunteers must be over the age of 18 years 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 you entry into a 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 of these platforms and if you still have questions, you can email us at