Dun Laoghaire Further Education InstituteAnimal Care / Animal Care Assistant – Level 5 QQI Award

Animal Care / Animal Care Assistant – Level 5 QQI Award

South Dublin City, South Dublin County
on request
1 year
Further Education and PLC, Level 5 QQI
September - May

Course description

Course Overview:

This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and the skills to work in a variety of areas within the Animal Healthcare sector or to progress to Higher Education through the Higher Education Links Scheme. Students will study core areas of Animal Healthcare and are enabled to put theory into practice through experiential learning in a fully equipped Animal Healthcare Suite. This course is delivered by specialists who are currently practising within the profession. Regular field trips and the handling of a wide variety of animals are key features of this course.

Entry Requirements:

One of the following:

  • Leaving Certificate (LC Established, LCVP, LCA) or equivalent
  • A Full Level 4 QQI/FETAC Award (or equivalent)
  • For Mature Applicants (aged 21 or over) – appropriate experience will be considered in lieu of formal qualifications. Note: Mature applicants may be entitled to VTOS funding. For details about VTOS, please contact the college.
  • As there is an emphasis on the science subjects, Biology, Animal Anatomy and Physiology, a background in science would be desirable, but not essential.

Course Modules:

  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Animal Grooming
  • Animal Welfare
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Small Animal Husbandry and Housing
  • Veterinary Assisting Skills
  • Biology
  • Word Processing
  • Work Experience
  • Communications
  • Mathematics (Optional) for those students requiring Mathematics for progression through the CAO


  • Level 5 QQI Award Animal Care (5M2768)
  • AniEd Canine First Responder Certificate

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 feature 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 will be required to undertake a period work placement in an organisation connected to their vocational area during the academic year.  Work Experience is mandatory for all of our full-time Level 5 courses. Students are required to source their own work placement but will be assisted in this by the work experience teacher.  The work placement is usually for a period of 10 days or a minimum of 60 hours.  Students usually find the work experience element of the course to be invaluable and should bear in mind that a successful work placement can sometimes lead to further opportunities.

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

A full major award is granted on passing the relevant eight components.  On successful completion of each component, you will be awarded a pass, a merit or a distinction grade.  See www.qqi.ie for more details.

Progression Opportunities:
DFEi: Graduates who have completed and achieved the full Level 5 Animal Care Award may progress to the Level 6 QQI Advanced Certificate in Animal Healthcare at DFEi.

Elsewhere: Graduates are eligible to apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme for entry to year one of a range of higher certificate and degree programmes, at Universities, Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities using their full QQI Level 5 major award. Places are not guaranteed in these Institutes 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 and any specific entry requirements. Students may also refer to the individual HEI prospectus or may also refer to the QQI FET section of the CAO website. www.cao.ie

There are progression options in a wide range of areas including general science, veterinary nursing, agricultural science, marine biology and many other related areas.

Whilst many of the Our 2021 graduates of this course have progressed onto the Level 6 Award in Animal Science at DFEi, many other graduates of this course have progressed onto UCD, TUS Athlone, and Dundalk IT.  For example, four of our graduates got into Veterinary Science and three got into Agricultural Science in UCD. Others have progressed directly into employment in Animal Healthcare related areas.

Examples of CAO progression opportunities are listed below.

Progression Examples

BSc Veterinary Nursing (DN310)

Bachelor of Science (DN200)

Bachelor of Agricultural Science (DN250)

Bachelor of Science in Sustainability (DN240)

University College Dublin – www.ucd.ie

BSc Applied Freshwater and Marine Biology (GA780)

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology – www.gmit.ie

BSc Veterinary Nursing (AL731)

BSc Bioveterinary Science (AL842)

Athlone Institute of Technology – www.ait.ie

BSc Veterinary Nursing (DK784)

Dundalk Institute of Technology – www.dkit.ie

Bachelor of Science (TU755)

Technological University Dublin (City) – www.tud.ie

BSc Wildlife Biology (MT880)

BSc Veterinary Bioscience (MT881)

BSc Agricultural Science (MT877)

BSc Animal Bioscience (MT781)

Munster Technological University – www.mtu.ie

Career Paths
Graduates may seek employment in: large and small veterinary clinics as animal care assistants, dog grooming parlours, pet shops and other animal retail, catteries/dog kennels, doggie day-care facilities, animal welfare organisations (for example Dogs Trust), agricultural, science industries, farms (including petting farms), zoos (for example Dublin Zoo), wildlife parks, safari parks (for example Tayto Park), self-employment (both in Ireland and abroad), and further/third level education.

This is a Full-time One Year course which runs from September to May, 5 days a week.

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