ACM30321 Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care

ACM30321 Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care

The Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care is the pathway to a career such as Trainee Zoo Keeper, Animal Attendant or Wildlife Animal Carer in a Zoo, Aquarium or Wildlife park. With some previous study or work experience, students will further develop their knowledge in animal husbandry through a combination of regular theory lessons and practical experience.

Applications for our 2023 intake have now closed.

Important update.

If at any stage during course delivery, students aren't permitted onsite due to COVID-19 restrictions enforced by either the Government or by Taronga, the Taronga Training Institute will continue to deliver Certificate courses via virtual classrooms. This will continue to provide students with direct contact with trainers and their classmates.

In the event this is enforced, students would also gain virtual access to Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo through specially recorded interviews, behind the scenes recordings and online resources. Taronga would then transition back to onsite classes as soon as is safely possible.

Course details

This course is run in intensive study blocks over 12 months beginning in February each year. There is no mid-year intake of this course at the Dubbo Campus. 

  • Course Structure: This course includes a combination of class sessions and practical on site tutorial/workshop days at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. Blocks may be Monday to Friday, or Monday to Saturday. There is a total of 6 x 1 week blocks throughout the year
  • Practical Requirements: The practical component of this course is via 3 x 2 week blocks at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. Practical placements will commence as early as 6.30am and finish by 4.30pm. Practical placement is allocated by ballot and will be spread throughout the course of the year. Successful applicants will be advised of their practical placement on or before orientation
  • Study Load: There are a total of 16 units of competency to be completed to a satisfactory level. This includes face to face classes, tutorials, workshops, practical assessment days and practical placement 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 18 years of age on commencement of the course
  • Students must be an Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or New Zealand Citizen
  • Students must attend all mandatory dates which include classroom sessions, practical assessment days, workshops and practical placement days
  • Students must hold previous qualifications in an animal related field or an ability to provide a letter of recommendation for demonstrated experience working within the animal care industry in the past 12 months will be advantageous
  • Students should have a high level of health and fitness in order to fully participate in the course
  • Students should demonstrate good English skills, both written and verbal, and basic numeracy skills
  • Students should ensure they have transport to and from Taronga Western Plains Zoo as public transport can be difficult. There may also be times when your own vehicle will be required during practical placement.
  • Students are required to be double vaccinated for COVID-19 and show proof upon acceptance into the course

Units of competency

Core Units

  • ACMWHS301 Contribute to WHS processes
  • ACMGEN311 Maintain and monitor health and wellbeing
  • ACMBEH302 Provide enrichment for animals
  • ACMGEN312 Provide nutritional requirements for animals
  • ACMEXH301 Work within a zoological facility
  • ACMGEN301 Prepare and present information to the public
  • ACMEXH303 Prepare and maintain animal habitats
  • ACMEXH304 Assist with capturing, restraining and moving animals
  • ACMSUS301 Implement and monitor environmentally sustainable work practices
  • ACMGEN304 Promote positive wellbeing in self and others in animal care workplaces
  • ACMGEN315 Communicate effectively with clients and team members
  • ACMGEN303 Assess the welfare status of an animal

Elective Units

  • ACMEXH309 Contribute to exhibit design and renovation planning
  • ACMBEH404 Condition animal behaviour
  • ACMINF301 Comply with infection control policies and procedures in animal work
  • ACMEXH305 Monitor animal reproduction

NOTE: All 16 units (12 core and 4 electives) must be completed to gain the Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care.


Upon successful completion of ACM30321 Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care, further study options may be available external to Taronga. Please refer to Australian Training Sector website for further details on available courses.

Application process

Applications open on 15 August of each year for commencement the following February.

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 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 of applying - proceed to apply only if you agree and can comply with the conditions 
  • Answer the selection criteria questions contained within the application
  • Copies of the following will need to be uploaded at the time of your online application and you should gather electronic copies of these documents before commencing your application:
    • your Student Transcript or a letter of recommendation indicating that you have a minimum of 250 hours demonstrated experience working with animals in the past 12 months
    • copy of your birth certificate or passport as proof of Australian Citizenship or permanent residency
    • copy of your photo ID
    • your Unique Student Identifier (USI) 
  • Your Unique Student Identifier (USI) - This can be otained during the enrolment process if you do not currently have a 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 Mail or Spam Folder and then contact us at

Applicants who are short listed will progress to the second stage of the enrolment process to attend a face to face interview. Phone interview can be organised if necessary. Specific dates will be provided to those who are progressing to the interview stage. 

During your interview you will be requested to provide the originals of the documents uploaded during the application process:

  • Your original Student Transcript or a letter of recommendation indicating that you have a minimum of 250 hours demonstrated experience working with animals in the past 12 months.
  • Your original birth certificate or passport as proof of Australian Citizenship or permanent residency
  • Your original photo ID

If your application is successful, you will be required to accept your position and complete the enrolment requirements within 72 hours. Applicants are welcome to apply for more than one campus and need only complete the application once.

For the January intake you can apply for/express interest in between 1 and 5 campuses by listing your preferences within the application. Only the Sydney campus is available to be selected for the June intake. If you are successful in securing a position in the course you will be offered a position
at the campus of your choice, where available.

Course dates

February 2023 intake, Monday - Friday classes

Orientation: 27th January 2023

Block 1: Monday 30th January 2023 till Friday 3rd February 2023
Block 2: Monday 6th March till Friday 10th March 2023
Block 3: Monday 5th June till Friday 9th June 2023
Block 4: Monday 7th August till Friday 11th August 2023
Block 5: Monday 18th September till Friday 22nd September 2023
Block 6: Monday 20th November till Friday 24th November 2023

Times & Dates subject to change with notice.

Terms and conditions

Please read carefully before applying

Thank you for your interest in studying with the Taronga Training Institute. 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 Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care with the Taronga Training Institute. Commercial course fees can be paid in full or in four 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 in Dubbo, you will be assigned to 3 x 2 week blocks of practical placement. Practical days will start as early as 6.30am and finish by 4.30pm. Classroom lessons will be held in 6 x 1 week blocks which may include a Saturday. Classes will commence at 8.00am and conclude by 5.00pm each day.
  4. Students are required to attend ALL practical days; any that are missed will need to be rescheduled and may incur an administration fee.
  5. 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.
  6. You understand that during placement at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, all instructions given by Dubbo Zoo staff must be adhered to for your welfare and that of the animals.
  7. 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.
  8. You understand that it is a requirement of this course that you wear the Taronga Training Institute student uniform when you attend classes and onsite practical days. The uniform consists of a polo shirt and jumper. The course fee includes your uniform. Additional uniform items can be purchased at $45 per item.
  9. 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 must be computer literate and can access the internet to upload and download assessments and course work when required.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 practical 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 Western Plains Zoo may require students to be vaccinated at their own expense and you will be required to comply with any vaccination requirements of Dubbo Zoo.
  3. It is a requirement of studying with Taronga Training Institute that all students have had at least 2 COVID 19 vaccinations by the time their course commences or a formal medical exemption – subject to approval by Taronga Training Institute.
  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.

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 a citizen (or permanent resident) of Australia, a citizen of New Zealand or holders of an acceptable study visa. Accordingly, TTI does not currently deliver to students outside of this criteria and we do not delivery any accredited training via overseas or international partnerships.

Do I have to wear a uniform?

When on site, TTI students are required to wear the Taronga Training Institute polo shirt and jumper 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. 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 TTI student will not automatically gain you entry into any volunteer programs.

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