Advanced Certificate in Animal Management

Start your career working with animals the right way. Learn about animal management, and study online at your own pace. A broad foundation course which can be applied to many careers.

Course Code: VAG056
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Aim for Career Satisfaction Working With Animals

This broad based study course is designed to appeal to those who have a love of animals and wish to turn that into a career or business working with them. 

This Advanced Certificate in Animals Management allows you to personalise your studies through choosing elective modules to complement the core studies. 

What you will learn here can lay the foundation for a range of job roles or for further studies.  


Learn to manage a range of animals


Lay the foundation for career or business opportunities with animals:

  • In farming

  • With pets

  • Working with wildlife

Through our core (compulsory)  modules you develop a broad based foundation that relates to animals on farms, as pets, in zoos or the wild. You study of anatomy, physiology, vertebrate zoology, animal behaviour, feed and nutrition, animal biochemistry, health and diseases, and genetics. These modules give students a thorough grounding in the biology of animals.

Following this a choice of electives enables you to streamline or specialise and learn things that are relevant to your own unique needs.

ACS Student Comment:

Yes [the course was a valuable learning experience]. It is providing me with new insights and development beyond my former knowledge of this subject. It also provides me with a proper basic knowledge to pursue my dreams in this career path. - Arnold Taen, Netherlands



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Animal Management.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Research Project I BGN102
 Vertebrate Zoology BEN104
 Animal Behaviour (Psychology of Animals) BAG203
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 31 modules.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Aquarium Management BEN105
 Biochemistry I (Animal and Human) BSC103
 Dog Care BAG105
 Farm Management BAG104
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Ornithology BEN102
 Pet Care AAG100
 Workshop I BGN103
 Animal Diseases BAG219
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Cat Psychology and Training BAG222
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Dog Psychology and Training BAG221
 Genetics BSC207
 Goat Production BAG223
 Herpetology BEN209
 Mariculture - Marine Aquaculture BAG220
 Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Pigs BAG209
 Poultry BAG208
 Primatology (Primate Animals) BEN210
 Sheep BAG210
 Sustainable Agriculture BAG215
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Zoo Keeping BEN208
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Horse Breeding BAG307

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Animal Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


The amount and type of learning needed to manage animals well is not the same as what is needed to be a veterinarian; but there is no argument that the more you know and understand about animals, the better you will be at managing them.

This course takes longer than some courses, but in studying for longer you learn more.

As a graduate from this course, your understanding of farm animals will have changed, and you will perceive and make decisions about farm animals in a different and more informed way than ever before.

When You better Understand Veterinary Practice, You will make Better Decisions about Using Veterinary Services

By ensuring the animals under our care attend regular veterinary health checks, we are preventing risks of ill health.  Some types of health checks can be informed frequently by anyone who knows what they are doing; and others will require a fully qualified veterinarian. Routine health checks play an important role in ensuring the animal is in optimum health and for early diagnosis of any illnesses. 

Vet practices also put in place immunisation programmes as preventative measures.  Different programmes may be available depending on the locality, but generally there are vaccinations available for pets, farmed animals and zoo animals.  Vaccinations contain a very minute amount of the disease or organism, which is injected into the animal.  This will then trigger the white blood cells within the animal to produce antibodies to start fighting the disease.  In any future cases of the vaccinated animal coming in contact with the disease, the antibodies will recognise it and fight it off quickly.  The animal may show no signs at all or only very small symptoms of the disease.

Parasitic control is also a preventative measure offered by veterinary practices.  Again, these do vary depending on locality but there are a range of treatments available for both ectoparasites (external parasites) and endoparasites (internal parasites).  
Some common ectoparasites include;

  •     Fleas

  •     Ticks

  •     Sarcoptes Mite

  •     Cheyletiella Mite

  •     Demodex Mite

  •     Harvest Mite

  •     Lice

Some common endoparasites include;

  •     Roundworms

  •     Hookworms

  •     Whipworms

  •     Tapeworms

  •     Flukes

  •     Heartworms

  •     Lungworms

Veterinary practices urge owners to keep up to date with parasitic control to try to prevent outbreaks which will cause severe irritation, risk of disease, internal damage and secondary infections.  These preventative measures are also in place to decrease any risk to humans.  Some endoparasites are zoonotic meaning they can be passed onto humans and can be detrimental to the health of a child.  People can also become infected with ectoparasites, including ticks which can carry a range of diseases, for example Lyme disease.  

Animals Need Different Types of Food at Different Times

Seasonal change in the diet of many wild animals is common worldwide.  However, this change in nutritional needs is not completely understood or managed in many zoo feeding programs. Photoperiod and temperature are the main factors influencing diet changes. For example, the temperature can affect the appetite of animals such as carnivores.  These factors can also influence the feeding behaviour of animals.

Ruminants from temperate and arctic areas often show a marked seasonal variation in feed intake which corresponds to the natural seasonal availability of feed in the wild. For example, deer have a high feed intake in the summer, accumulating large fat quantities. In the winter they can go for days without eating, meeting their energy requirements by metabolising the fat in their bodies.

The data collected from zoo animals wild counterparts, can provide the best basis for optimum diets of zoo animals. Based on observations made in the field, zoo keepers can identify seasonal changes in diet and behaviour and adapt feeding plans to meet these. Accurate records of weight and growth are important when identifying seasonal changes in diet.  The animal’s diet should be monitored regularly and adjusted accordingly.

The amount of energy an animal requires will generally increase during pregnancy and lactation. In late gestation (pregnancy) feed intake may actually decrease, due to the high levels of estrogens in the body affecting metabolism. The increased size of the foetus will also reduce the volume in the abdominal cavity for storing food.

During peak lactation an animal’s energy requirements is at its highest. At this time body reserves are being used to meet this increased energy demand.

For birds, the breeding season also influences energy intake. Researchers have observed that the appetite of breeding emus rises dramatically in late winter when egg production ceases.  This is followed by a sharp decline in energy requirements in the following autumn when the new breeding season commences.


The world of animal management is so big, and there are so many things to explore and learn about that it is hard to know where to begin.

Everyone needs a solid overview though; to understand animal anatomy and physiology, as well as the psychology and behaviour of animals. You need to know what they eat and drink, how to protect them from all sorts of risks; and a lot more.

This course will provide that broad foundation; and in doing so, give you a framework to move forward with a career, a business or simply pursuit of your lifelong passion.


ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Alison Pearce (Agri & Animal)

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS students.

She has worked as a University Lecturer, has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures. She has worked in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

She has extensive experience of handling, husbandry, and management of a wide range of both small and large animals and has a particular love for nature and wildlife.

Alison has a BSc (Hon) Animal Science.

Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.
Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design.Robert has B.Sc., Ph, D.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Cheryl McLardy

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture and equine industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Formerly: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager at Warwickshire College

Maria Schmitz Fontes

Maria has extensive experience in Environmental Science working in the private and public sectors. She has 6 years of experience teaching graduate and post-graduate students subjects as Marine Pollution, Microbial Ecology, Geochemistry, Oceanography, Methods in Aquatic Science and Benthic Ecology. She has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters. She has also coordinated an innovative project in bioenergy production using simple-cheap methods to isolate microbes in laboratory. She has collaborated with scientists of Climate Change Cluster Group from University of Technology Sydney and has current interests in areas such as: sustainability and clean energy.

Sarah Pirecki

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

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