Qualification - Certificate in Companion Animal Studies

Course CodeVAG024
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours


Want to Work in the Pet Industry?

Learn about animal health care, and develop business and management skills, that are valued for a career working with pets or providing support services within the pet industry.

This course can be an excellent starting point for:

  • Pet Shop staff or proprietors
  • Animal Breeders or Service Providers
  • Veterinary Assistants
  • Animal Shelter Staff
  • Allied professions in Farming, Wildlife, etc

The course is also well suited to anyone who already works with animals who is seeking to further their skills and career prospects.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Certificate in Companion Animal Studies.
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Pet Care (Different Types Of Pets) AAG100
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 12 modules.
 Animal Biology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Bird Care BAG108
 Cat Care BAG107
 Dog Care BAG105
 Horse Management I BAG102
 Sales Skills VBS108
 Starting A Small Business VBS101
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Cat Psychology and Training BAG222
 Dog Psychology and Behavioural Management BAG221
 Natural Animal Health Care BAG218
 Breeding Animals BAG301

Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Companion Animal Studies is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

This is a very solid course, taught by exceptionally well qualified and experienced, world class animal experts. Check our staff credentials at: http://www.acsedu.com/about-us/our-staff.aspx

The four core modules will take 400 hours to complete, laying a very solid foundation for working with pets. The two electives will allow you to specialize further in areas of your choosing. This has an added advantage of giving you a skill set that will differentiate you from competitors in business or when you apply for a job.

Animal Health Care alone covers much of what you would find in a veterinary nursing or vet assistants certificate in many other colleges.  Pet Care and Animal Behaviour broaden the knowledge of companion animals further; and Starting a Small Business lays a foundation for making a success with managing people, finance and marketing in a pet industry enterprise.

Module Outlines:

Animal Health Care

There are twelve lessons in Animal Health Care as follows:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health Care
  2. Common Health Problems in farm animals and pets
  3. Animal Behaviour
  4. Signs of Ill Health
  5. Veterinary Facilities
  6. Safety Procedures
  7. Administration of Animal Health
  8. Animal First Aid
  9. Preventative Health Care
  10. Routine Health Treatments
  11. Health Problems in Domestic Pets
  12. Rehabilitation Care

Pet Care

There are 8 lessons in Pet Care as follows:

  1. Introduction to Animal Care
  2. Cats
  3. Dogs
  4. Birds
  5. Fish
  6. Rabbits
  7. Reptiles & Amphibians
  8. Guinea Pigs, Hamsters & Mice.

Animal Behaviour

There are eight lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction: Influences and motivation.
  2. Genetics and Behaviour.
  3. Animal Perception and Behaviour.
  4. Behaviour and the Environment.
  5. Social Behaviour.
  6. Instinct and Learning.
  7. Handling Animals.
  8. Behavioural Problems.


Starting a Small Business

There are twelve lessons in Starting a Small Business, as follows:

  1. Introduction to Small Business Types of business and communication, types of language, office equipment.
  2. The Business World Consultancy services, law and business, the landscape industry, business letters, communication systems.
  3. Your alternatives - different types of ventures Buying and starting a business.
  4. Marketing What is involved in marketing, advertising, selling, communication.
  5. Planning Organising and planning to ensure the success of the business.
  6. Basic Bookkeeping Financial statements, balance sheet, profit and loss statement,insurance.
  7. Sales Methods Selling, sales method, telephone canvassing.
  8. Budgeting Assets and liabilities.
  9. Developing a 12 month business plan Protection, planning and production.
  10. Implementing a business plan Communication with employees, planning the development of the business.
  11. Reviewing progress in a new business Research, evaluate and decide on business plan updates.
  12. Improving profitability Increase profit and reduce expenditure

Learning Facilities

ACS follows the old fashioned idea that “the student comes first”. Our staff are told to treat every student as an individual and respond promptly to their enquiries; and the facilities we have developed and continue to develop, are all focused on that goal. Facilities include:

  • Offices in two time zones (UK and Australia) –which means an international team of academics are responding to students 5 days a week and 16 hours a day.
  • An online student room with unique resources that are only available to students studying our courses, including online library.
  • Bookshop offering quality downloadable e books
  • A data base of 20 million words of unique information written by our staff over 3 decades that can be drawn upon if needed by academics for use in supporting our students.
  • Systems that ensure assignments are tracked, marked and returned to students, fast -commonly within a round 1 week & rarely more than 2 weeks (note: many other colleges take longer).
  • The school is active in social networking and encourages students to connect with us and each other.
  • No automated handling of student phone enquiries. When you call you get a real person; or leave a message and a real person will call you back within a day, but more commonly within an hour or two.
  • No additional charges for extra tutor support over the phone or email.
  • Free careers advice for graduates –It is our policy to provide support and advice to our students even after they graduate. If a graduate needs help with getting a CV together, or advice on setting up a business or looking for work; they only need ask.
  • The quality of academic staff is higher than many other colleges.

 How our Courses Differ

  • Courses are continually improved –we invite feedback from all graduates and change courses immediately the need is detected.
  • Courses are relevant to the whole world –we try hard to teach make the learning transferable to any region or country because the world is increasingly a global economy
  • Courses written by our staff, teach different skills to standard courses; giving a unique mix of skills and knowledge to provide a career advantage. Do you want an accredited certificate and the same skills as 100 other job applicants; or one of our courses with skills that no other applicants have?
  • Certificates and diplomas are longer. They teach you more, and our qualifications have built a reputation amongst academics and industry as being a very high standard for this reason.
  • We are focused on helping you learn in a way that improves your capacity to understand your discipline, apply knowledge, and continue learning and developing your capabilities beyond your course.

These things cannot be always said of other colleges.



Career Opportunities

Study alone can never guarantee career success; but a good education is an important starting point.

Success in a career depends upon many things. A course like this is an excellent starting point because it provides a foundation for continued learning, and the means of understanding and dealing with issues you encounter in the workplace.

When you have completed an ACS course, you will have not only learnt about the subject, but you will have been prompted to start networking with experts in the discipline and shown how to approach problems that confront you in this field.

This and every other industry in today’s world is developing in unforeseen ways; and while that is unsettling for anyone who wants to be guaranteed a particular job at the end of a particular course; for others, this rapidly changing career environment is offering new and exciting opportunities almost every month.

If you want to do the best that you can in this industry, you need to recognise that the opportunities that confront you at the end of a course, are probably different to anything that has even been thought of when you commence a course.


Pet stores are like any other shop, a retail outlet for products. To be a successful pet shop owner, manager or employee, you need to be able to sell merchandise, from pet food and toys to cages, fish tanks, leashes and the pets themselves. Obviously you need to know about caring for different animals in order to keep the animals you are selling in good condition; and advise customers on the products they might buy. 
Some pet shops may be more caring for the animals than others.
Some pet shops (or departments in other stores) may sell non living products that relate to pets; without selling the actual pets. Some pet shops specialize in the type of pets they sell (eg. An Aquarium shop).

The nature of retailing has been changing dramatically over recent decades.  Some of these changes include; increased franchising, online shopping malls, a rise in specialist suppliers catering to niche markets, retailers attached to other businesses and retailers who provide add on services that are simply not provided by their competitors.

Examples of innovative approaches to pet industry retailing might be:

  • A pet shop renting space to create a department within a hardware store or garden centre
  • A pet supply shopping mall run by a groomer (The groomer has a captive market with grooming clients and can sell all the other needs from de-worming tablets to food, to the grooming clients through an online shop).

There is no doubt that people will always have pets, and spend money on their pets. The retail pet supplies industry will always offer employment opportunity; but the way in which people buy pets and pet products has changed and will continue to change. If you want a sustainable career in this industry, you need to be prepared to change, and continually work on maintaining networks and staying up to date whit where pet retailing is moving.

Risks and challenges

  • Some jobs require you to deal with hazardous materials (e.g. toxic chemicals, animal faeces).
  • Whilst handling animals there is a risk of being bitten or the transfer of parasites and disease.
  • You may become emotionally attached to an animal which is then sold.
  • You will need to have the knowledge and skills to look after the animal appropriately to ensure harm does not come to them.
Improving Your Opportunities to Work in a Pet Shop
You need three things in particular:
  • Knowledge of pets and pet products
  • Ability to sell, and understand marketing
  • Communication skills

Being an expert on pets may help get you a job in a pet store; but to keep the job you need to make sales. If you communicate well with animals, but poorly with people, you may need to work on developing people skills before progressing with a career in this industry.

It is important that you are thoroughly knowledgeable about the animals you are caring for, so you may wish to complete vocational training on the animals that you work with.

Other related jobs might include

  • Groomer
  • Breeder
  • Veterinary assistant
  • Animal Trainer
  • Animal Shelter Staff
  • Animal Rescue Officer
  • Veterinarian
  • Teacher, Consultant


It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method


$1,653.00Payment plans available.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!
Please note that if you choose the 'e-learning' (course on USB) method, be aware that due to current covid-19 restrictions there are some countries we can not send USB sticks to.

We recommend you choose the online learning method as all online courses provide access to download course notes to access offline or print. If you do require your course to be supplied on USB stick then please contact us first to check availability for your country.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.