Animal Care Aide Certificate

Be part of a dedicated team of professionals in the field of animal care as you develop practical skills and knowledge for employment in veterinary hospitals, animal shelters and kennels. Learn about animal behaviours, nutrition, wellness, handling and basic care procedures. Apply theory to practice with hands-on sessions in specialized facilities including 20 hours of mandatory work experience.


Applications are now being accepted to the Winter 2021 start. View the program guide


 This program is currently not available to international applicants.
Where: Online
Starts: October, January
Length: 8 months, part-time (Oct start); 7 months, part-time (Jan start)
Delivery:  Off-campus, Digital Scheduled Class

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I loved the program. The information was very thorough, but also presented in a really accessible way. I was able to find a job really quickly and I love what I do. I’d recommend the certificate to anyone interested in working with animals.

Devin Burton, Animal Care Aide graduate

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Program Requirements

Completion Requirements

Attendance is required in all courses. Absenteeism may result in failure.
Students must maintain a C+ or better in each course to continue and to complete the program.

Have questions? Educational advisors are available to help you through the application process. Call 1-800-715-0914 or email

Admission Requirements


  1. C in one of Applications or Principles of Math 11, Introduction to Math 11, Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 11, Workplace Math 11, Foundations of Math 11, Trades Math 11, Consumer Math 11, NIC MAT-053, or NIC MAT-055, or NIC Animal Care Aide Math Assessment; and
  2. C in one of English 11, Composition 11, Creative Writing 11, Literary Studies 11, New Media 11, Spoken Language 11, English First Peoples Literary Studies & Writing 11, English First Peoples Literary Studies & New Media 11, English First Peoples Literary Studies & Spoken Language 11, or NIC ENG-052, or NIC English Placement Assessment


Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

To Be Successful

Skills required to be successful in the program include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • comfortable working closely with domestic animals
  • strong desire to provide caring and knowledgeable aid to animals
  • ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • strong work ethic and positive attitude toward class attendance and punctuality

Accessible Learning

Making education accessible for those with a documented disability is a key priority for NIC. We offer a wide range of services, supports and resources for students. For more information visit: Accessible Learning Services.

Program Highlights

The Animal Care Aide program prepares you for entry-level employment in animal care facilities, including veterinary clinics, hospitals, animal recovery centres, shelters, kennels and specialty animal businesses. You will learn to provide assistance and support as part of a dedicated team of professionals in the field of animal care and will gain understanding of animal behaviours, nutrition, wellness, handling and basic care procedures to be a valued member of an animal care team.

Six instructor-led courses include hands-on sessions and work experience in veterinary clinics and/or specialized facilities. The program is part-time, allowing you to add to your qualifications while maintaining other commitments. Courses have been developed in close consultation with industry professionals to ensure that, upon graduation, you will have the skills and knowledge to work in the animal care field.

While the program emphasizes small animal care in hospital/clinical settings, the training is valuable and easily transferable to other animal care settings. It is intended for individuals with no previous or formal training, but courses have been designed to help existing staff and volunteers who wish to upgrade their skills.

Graduates receive a certificate of completion from North Island College.

Career Opportunities

As a graduate, you will be well-prepared with relevant, entry-level skills in demand at veterinary hospitals and animal care shelters. You may also find work and/or volunteer opportunities in settings such as animal recovery centres, pet stores, zoos, game farms and similar businesses, grooming businesses, kennels and large animal farms.


October start

The Animal Care Aide certificate will be held over two semesters, from October to April. All classes and the practicum are held online. Classes are scheduled to take place using virtual conferencing software on Mondays and Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 pm.


January start

The Animal Care Aide certificate will be held from January to July 2021. All classes are scheduled online using a virtual conferencing software on Wednesdays and Fridays evenings, 6:30-9:30 pm. To see the full schedule, download our Program Guide

Tuition & Costs Estimate

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit our tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Tuition $2,450
Books $150
Total $2,600

Find out if this program is eligible for Student Aid BC funding.

This program is tuition refund Category 3.

Note: The assigned textbook for the Animal Care Aide program will be provided in a digital format.