City & Guilds Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Equine Pathway)

Academic Level: Further Education Level 3
Number of units/modules: 19
Study Hours per Unit: 150
Total Hours:  2400
Course Duration:  2-3 years
Study Week Requirements: 8 x 4 day study weeks

Awarded by City and Guilds, this qualification prepares veterinary nurses for professional registration on the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Register of Veterinary Nurses.

This qualification comprises 13 core units and two option pathways, one in small animal nursing and one in equine nursing. TOCES offers training towards the core and equine pathway units, oversees practical training and monitors the completion of work based clinical skills via the online Nursing Progress Log (NPL).


  • Aged 16 or above.
  • Minimum of five GCSEs at Grade C and above. These must include English Language, at least one Science subject and Mathematics.
  • Alternative qualifications of a comparable or higher standard may be accepted in lieu of the usual requirements. TOCES’ BTEC First Diploma: Equine Nursing Technician is an acceptable entry qualification.
  • Learners must have access to suitable work experience in a clinical veterinary practice. This may be on the basis of paid employment (e.g. apprenticeship) or an unpaid placement and must amount to a minimum of 1185 hours over the course of the programme.

To ensure practices are able to provide a suitable training environment they must be approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a *Training Practice (TP). If a practice is not already a TP TOCES will arrange the approval process. This applies to UK and overseas practices. For further information about becoming an approved RCVS Training Practice please see How to become a Training Practice. 

*Practices that do not quite meet the TP criteria may be eligible to become an aTP and work with TOCES and other TPs to provide the necessary training.


  • 301 Understanding the Operational Requirements of a Veterinary Practice (10)
  • 302 Comparative Functional Anatomy for Veterinary Nursing Practice (20)
  • 303 Professional Relationships and Communication for Veterinary Nursing Practice (10)
  • 304 Applied Animal Welfare, Health and Husbandry for Veterinary Nurses (20)
  • 305 Infection Control in Veterinary Practice (5)
  • 306 Essentials of Practical Veterinary Nursing Care for Hospitalised Animals (5)
  • 307 Supporting the Supply of Veterinary Medicines (5)
  • 308 Veterinary Nursing Support of Diagnostic Imaging (10)
  • 309 Veterinary Nursing Support of Laboratory Diagnostics (5)
  • 310 Supporting Veterinary Operating Theatre Practice (10)
  • 311 Understanding the Essentials of Veterinary Nursing Care for Hospitalised Animals (10)
  • 312 Principles of Supporting Veterinary Anaesthesia (10)
  • 313 Preparing for Professional Registration (10)


  • 320 Principles of Peri-Operative Veterinary Nursing Support for Horses (10)
  • 321 Principles of Veterinary Nursing Support for Equine Patients (10)
  • 322 Principles of Equine Veterinary Nursing Emergency and Critical Care (10)
  • 323 Equine Neonatal Care (10)
  • 324 Practical Peri-Operative Veterinary Nursing Support for Horses (5)
  • 325 Practical Veterinary Nursing Support of Equine Patients (5)

Upon successful completion of this qualification the post nominals RVN may be used


City & Guilds Diploma Veterinary Nursing (Equine Pathway) City & Guilds Diploma Veterinary Nursing (Equine Pathway Top Up) BTEC First Diploma: Equine Nursing Technician  BTEC Advanced Diploma: Equine Nursing Technician