Advanced Certificate in Animal Healthcare

Level 6 QQI Award


This is a Full-time One Year course


This one year course is designed as a follow on from the QQI Level 5 Animal Healthcare course and is tailored made to the student who wishes to progress in the animal area into a working life with animals.  This course caters for experience with pet and farm animals.  The farm animal aspect of the course is taught in DFEi but also on site on a working farm in Dundrum.  Students also complete a one-week placement at an agricultural college in Tipperary to gain large animal farm experience.  This is to ensure that students leave with practical hands on experience with these species, and will have the versitility to gain employment in either equine or farm animal businesses.  Students gain a much greater understanding of the small animal per industry in Ireland, including dog behaviour and advanced grooming.  This means that students are ready for employment or equipped to set up their own animal entreprise.  Although Level 6 courses are directed more at employment/setting up your own business  etc, Higher education opportunities are also options for students who complete and achieve full certification through the CAO, in a variety of third level Institutes, with studies in wild animal management, marine biology, zoology, agriculture and associated areas. It is important that the students consult with the indicidual third level college websites for more information on admissions processes, or may refer to the QQI FET/FETAC section of the CAO website.

Listen back  to Tara Lovett, practicing Vet and  teacher explain why she loves teaching on this course

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • Level 5 QQI Award in Animal Care (5M2768)
  • Mature Applicants (aged 21 or over) - appropriate experience will be considered

Course Modules

  • Animal Science and Health
  • Large Animal Husbandry
  • Wild Animal Management
  • Animal Grooming
  • Canine Obedience and Training
  • Work Experience
  • Customer Service
  • Kennel and Cattery Management
  • Mathematics (Optional) for those students requiring Mathematics for progression through the CAO
  • Horse Conformation and Evaluation
  • Humans, Animals and Society
Module Information

Module Information

Advanced Certificate in Animal Healthcare/Advanced Animal Care Assistant

Level 6 QQI Award: Animal Science (6M5153)

Course Content (Module and Codes)


Animal Science and Health (6N5565)

This subject allows the student to research and develop their understanding of various animal species through self-directed project work. Students will also cover a variety of topics such as: nutrition, evolution, genetics and laboratory skills required to work with animals.

Assessment:  Project (30%), Skills Demonstration (30%), Examination - Theory (40%).


Large Animal Husbandry (6N5567)

This course will equip the learner with a detailed knowledge of the handling skills required for working with farm animals, the sheep, horse, and cow. The student will also gain knowledge of the husbandry of these species.

Assessment: Skills Demonstration (60%), Project (40%).


Wild Animal Management (6N5570)

This module equips the learner with knowledge and skill to understand the requirements of wild native animal species. The learner will gain an understanding of the first aid needed by wild animals including their rehabilitation and release.

Assessment: Examination - Theory (50%), Project (30%), Learner Record (20%).


Animal Grooming  (6N6226)

The student will learn some advanced grooming techniques. This will include an understanding of the clips required for the showing of certain dog breeds. The student will also explore how a grooming business might be set up and run.

Assessment:  Skills Demonstration (60%), Assignment (20%), Examination - Theory (20%).


Canine Obedience and Training (6N6228)

This module equips the student to understand all aspects of canine behaviour. The student will learn the skills necessary to run a basic beginner training class. The student will gain knowledge on the principles of canine learning and the theory behind this.

Assessment: Skills Demonstration (40%), Project (30%), Examination - Theory (30%).


Kennel and Cattery Management (6N5585)

To give students the theory, techniques; legal and health considerations to aid in the setting up and management of a kennel or cattery.  To foster great caring skills, ethical principles and knowledge to deal with behavioural  issues and security.

Assessment: Project (40%), Examination - Theory (30%), Skills Demonstration (30%).


Work Experience (6N1946)

The learner will gain skills and a theoretical understanding of a general supervisory nature of their work in a specific animal related workplace. This work experience will take place over 6 weeks.

Assessment:  Portfolio/Collection of Work (60%), Skills Demonstration (40%).


Customer Service  (6N0679)

Customer Service is important in all organisations, whether commercial or not-for-profit.  This module aims to equip the student with the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to direct quality customer service within a work, social or voluntary environment, independently and or in a supervisory capacity.

Assessment: Skills Demonstration (50%), Portfolio/Collection of Work (50%).


Mathematics (5N1833) - Optional 

Learn the numerical skills that are going to give you the advantage in any business or marketing environment. These are also skills that you may need for third level progression. As part of your maths classes you will learn about all branches of maths, and will focus on applying maths to real life through studying topics like statistics and probability. Course content is similar to Leaving Certificate Ordinary Level.

Assessment: Assignments (60%), Examination - Theory (40%).

This component is available as an option for those students requiring Mathematics for progression through the CAO.


Humans, Animals and Society (6N5569)

This is a subject which gives students an understanding of the animals role in human society, historically and in the current day.  It looks at animal societies and animal rights and ethics. It also looks at animal behaviour and how we affect it.  It looks at our relationships with animals and the benefits that come from this recripocal reelationship.

Assessment: Project (60%),Skills demonstration (40%).


Horse Conformation and Evaluation (6N3389)

This subject looks at the anatomy of the horse from the buyers point of view.  The student will learn about ideal confromation traits for different disciplines e.e. showjumpers, dressage, leisure horses etc.  The student will gain a knowledge of common conformation faults of the horse which affect performance and competition horses.

Assessment: Examination - Theory (40%), Skills Demonstration (60%).


  • Level 6 QQI Award Animal Science (6M5153)

Special Features

Technology Enhanced Learning with iPads

Utilising technology to deliver course work and enhance teaching and learning is particularly important for scientific subjects.  DFEI's Animal Healthcare department has been successfully using iPads since 2015 to help their students gain a fuller understanding of their subject matter through the multimedia features of the iPad.  This innovative practice has proved to be very effective and is now a central aspect of the learning experience for all Animal Healthcare students in DFEi.

Work Experience

Students as part of this programme, must complete six weeks' work placement: five weeks' in a veterinary practice and one weeks' compulsory resifential course in an agricultural college (to gain large farm animal experience).

Additional Information


Assessment techniques will be used to assess the knowledge and skills that students will have achieved on successful completion of modules:

  • Student Record
  • Portfolio/Collection of Work
  • Assignments
  • Examinations - written or Practical
  • Project

Progression Opportunities

Graduates are eligible to apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes, at Universities, Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities using thier full QQI FET/FETAC Level 5 and Level 6 major awards.  Places are not guaranteed and are subject to students meeting certain criteria.  It is the students' responsibility to consult with the relevant HEI for  information on the admissions process, especially if a student is looking for advanced entry into third level.  Students may also refer to the QQI/FETAC section of the CAO website.

Progression Examples

BSc in Veterinary Nursing (AL731)

Entry into 1st Year

Athlone Institute of Technology

BSc in Veterinary Nursing (DK784)

Entry into 1st Year on completion of Level 5 and Level 6 

Dundalk Institute of Technology

BSc in Veterinary Nursing (LY847)

Advanced entry into 2nd Year on completion of Level 5 and Level 6

Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Co. Donegal

Career Paths

Graduates may seek employment in: veterinary clinics, dog grooming parlours, pet shops, catteries/ dog kennels, animal welfare organisations, agricultural, science industries, farms (including petting farms), zoos, wildlife parks, and self-employment (both in Ireland and abroad).

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly


Angela McDermott

2017 graduate. Currently studying Agricultural Science in UCD.
"I loved the course in DFEi. Some of the modules like Animal Grooming were very hands on while others were more academic like Anatomy. I liked the variety.  I applied through the…

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Angela McDermott

2017 graduate. Currently studying Agricultural Science in UCD.
"I loved the course in DFEi. Some of the modules like Animal Grooming were very hands on while others were more academic like Anatomy. I liked the variety.  I applied through the higher links programme to Agricultural Science in UCD and I got a place.  I am hoping to specialise in equine after my first year."

Course Coordinator

Tara Lovett

Tara Lovett

Thank You

we will be in touch shortly