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.


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 (Taronga Western Plains Zoo)

  • Course Structure: This course includes a combination of class sessions, practical assessment sessions, tutorials and workshops onsite at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. Blocks are Monday to Friday. There is a total of 7 x 1-week blocks throughout the year
  • Practical Requirements: The practical component of this course is via 6 x 1-week blocks at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. Practical placements will commence as early as 6.30am and finish by 4.30pm. 
  • 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 sessions and practical placement requirements. Independent study, research, learning activities and assessments are completed in your own time. It is expected 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 residing in Australia 

  • Students must attend all mandatory dates which include classroom sessions, practical assessment days, workshops and practical placement days 

  • Students must have completed a Certificate II in Animal Care (or previous studies in an animal related field ), or have worked/volunteered at an animal care workplace for a minimum of 250 hours in the past 12 months. 

  • Students should have a high 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

  • Students must have access to an animal appropriate to train (eg: dog, cat, bird) as part of ACMBEH404 Condition animal behaviour

  • 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.

Units of competency

Core Units

  • ACMWHS301 Contribute to Workplace Health Safety 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
  • ACMSUS401 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 ACM30321 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 for intakes that start beginning 2024 open on Monday 14th August, 2023. 

This course is highly competitive and we have an application phase followed by a two-part interview phase. 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, as relevant to you, will need to be uploaded at the time of your online application and you should gather electronic copies of the documents before commencing your application: 

- A copy of your Student Transcript showing units of competency that you have successfully completed in an Animal related field of study OR a letter of recommendation indicating that you have demonstrated experience working with animals in the past 12 months 

- 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 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. A video conference  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 2024 intake, Monday - Friday classes

Orientation: 9th February 2024

Block 1: Monday 12th February 2024 till Friday 16th February 2024
Block 2: Monday 11th March till Friday 15th March 2024
Block 3: Monday 13th May till Friday 17th May 2024
Block 4: Monday 29th July till Friday 2 August 2024
Block 5: Monday 9th September till Friday 13th September 2024
Block 6: Monday 21st October till Friday 25th October 2024

Block 7: Monday 25th November till Friday 29th November 2024

Times & Dates subject to change with notice.

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 ACM30321 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. You understand that if you are successful in being offered a position in the course in Dubbo, you will be assigned to 6 x 1-week blocks of practical placement. Practical placement days will start as early as 6.30am and finish by 4.30pm. Classroom lessons will be held in 7 x 1 week blocks. Classes will commence at 8.00am and conclude by 5.00pm each day. 

  1. Students are required to attend ALL practical days; any that are missed will need to be rescheduled and may incur an administration fee. 

  1. 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. 

  1. You understand that during placement at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, all instructions given by Taronga Western Plains Zoo staff must be adhered to for your welfare and that of the animals. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. Taronga Training Institute also reserves the right to include any other vaccinations as required. 

  2. 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, practical placement and practical sessions. Depending upon your course, you may also have a practical placement. In addition to these mandatory dates, you will have independent study and research, learning activities and other course related activities. We would expect that you will need to spend 25 hours per week completing your course requirements.

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 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 Taronga Training Institute, you are able to apply through Taronga's volunteer program. Please note that all volunteers must be aged over 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 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