Advanced Certificate in Animal Management (Pets)

This course in exceptional and unique in the quantity and quality of what you learn about working with pets. Gain an extensive foundation for a business or career in the pet industry. Learn all aspects of animal management and health.

Course Code: VAG062
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Become an Expert in Caring for Pets

Extend your knowledge and move towards an exciting career with companion animals. 

A superbly designed course, which is relevant and challenging, specifically aimed at people who desire working with animals in the billion-dollar pet industry! No matter what capacity you work in, the public demand knowledge and quality service from people working their animals. For many households, pets are part of the family.  Instill confidence in yourself and your customers, develop skills and get an education like no other.

Are you seeking career progression? Do you have a natural confidence with animals?


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Animal Management (Pets).
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Pet Care AAG100
 Research Project I BGN102
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Welfare BAG224
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 14 modules.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Animal Grooming BAG106
 Bird Keeping (Aviculture) BAG108
 Dog Care BAG105
 Horse Care 1 BAG102
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Animal Diseases BAG219
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Cat Psychology and Training BAG222
 Dog Psychology and Training BAG221
 Herpetology BEN209
 Pet Food Business BAG227
 Animal Breeding BAG301

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


  • Explore the basis of animal behaviour. Animals have many specialised abilities that result from both innate programming and learned behaviours. It was once believed that logical thought was unique to man, but the more we study and observe animals, the more we learn that animals are sentient creatures.
  • Gain confidence in animal health care. As starting point for someone seeking to develop a career in the veterinary industry, or for a broad grounding or the health care of domestic pets, animal health care is essential.
  • Get the practical skills. Pet care is starting point for knowledge of the practical side of looking after animals effectively and professionally. The pet care module provides an outstanding opportunity for you to learn about various domesticated species and how to meet their many and various needs.
  • Gain insight into current issues in animal welfare. Animal Welfare is a branch of animal ethics that covers the interactions between humans and animals and the responsibility that humans have to treat them in a manner that promotes their well-being. This module will engage you to think about Animal Perception. You will learn how to Assess and Manage Animal Welfare and gain an understanding of Animal Protection, Rescue and Health Services.
  • Develop your skills as a learner and apply those to your work - learn to plan and conduct research. Discover ways that research skills can improve both the performance and sustainability of any business. Research Project 1 takes you through learning how to research in a very practical and methodical way. With so much literature available, honing skills in study and presentation is vital in this level of education and in the workplace.

What You Will Do

  • Activity Example 1.
    • Contact a veterinary service, animal welfare service or animal rescue service. Find out what their procedure is for providing first aid to an animal which has been hit by a car or other motor vehicle.
  • Activity Example 2
    • Observe an animal kept as a pet. It could be owned by one of your family members, a friend, neighbour, or someone else you know. Note how healthy the animal appears to be, how its owner(s) treat it, how it behaves, and if possible ask them about the animal's health history, any behavioural problems, and what (if anything) they have done to train it.
  • This course is packed with hands-on practical activities and tasks to ensure you are confident in a range of situations you may face working with animals. There is as least one activity for every lesson studied! Use your tutors for support and guidance on anything you might find challenging.

Start Your Career in Professional Animal Care

Studying at this level, you will become confident in recognising poor health. Below is some signs to watch out for in dogs specifically.  

There are degrees of ill health ranging from the animal that is merely being ‘off-colour’ to one that is desperately ill. A dog that looks "not quite right" should be observed closely until it appears fully recovered. Early diagnosis of serious illness is often necessary to save the dog. Checking the vital signs is the first step to establishing if the animal required further veterinary attention. Seriously ill dogs should receive immediate veterinary attention.

Signs of disease present in two different ways:

  1. A general disease condition where the dog is ‘off-colour’ and will not eat.

  2. A local problem (e.g. tooth decay, local abscess, or broken bone).

In the general disease condition, the dog is usually lethargic, in many cases because of fever, although it may be because of a sub normal temperature. Lethargy is normally accompanied by decreased appetite and subsequent loss of weight.  Loss of weight can also occur while a dog is eating its normal diet, due to diarrhoea, kidney disease, diabetes or bleeding in the intestinal tract. 

The first sign to watch out for is a dog’s refusal to eat or drink. A normally vigorous eater refusing its food is a sure sign something is wrong. Fussy or picky feeders can make this sign less obvious and knowing the dog well will help determine if changes in eating patterns have emerged. 

A second sign of feeding changes is to watch for an overly hunger dog. If you have not changed the quantity of food supplied and drinking water is disappearing faster than normal, it is evident your dog’s nutritional requirements may not be being met. The animal will either have diarrhoea or will become constipated. The passing of urine might also cease. Changes to appetite and eating behaviour often accompany the intake of medications.

Other signs include dull eyes, the mucous membranes may have dried or changed colour. Deep red membranes indicate fever; pale membranes show anaemia; yellow membranes indicate a liver disorder, while blue-red membranes show heart and circulatory problems, or pneumonia.

A slightly increased pulse rate suggests pain, while a rapid pulse suggests fever. An irregular pulse can indicate heart trouble. In a very sick animal, the pulse is weak and feeble. The vital signs of a sick animal will change. The temperature may go up or down. A rise in temperature of one or two degrees usually indicates pain, while a rise of more usually indicates infection.



Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

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.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

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.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

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

Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert.
For several years, Cheryl managed the distance education courses for Warwickshire College (a large UK government institution), out of their Moreton Morrell campus. In more recent years, she has co authored several books including titles on Horse Care, Dog Care and Poultry. Along with this solid background in edication, she brings a wealth of practical experience, having held positions including: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager

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.

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