Central Qualifications (CQ) Veterinary Nursing Tech levels (interim-reformed)

Qualification codes
600/5823/7 (Diploma in Veterinary Nursing – Equine)
600/3711/8 (Diploma in Veterinary Nursing – Small animal)

The Department for Education (DfE) describe Tech level qualifications as follows:

Tech levels are rigorous advanced (level 3) technical qualifications on a par with A Levels and recognised by employers. They are for students aged 16 plus who want to specialise in a specific industry or prepare for a particular job. They cover jobs and careers where employers recruit people at this level or where a level 3 qualification is needed before students can progress to a related higher education course. Tech levels give students an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and skills to help them get an apprenticeship or job, for example in engineering, IT, accounting or professional cookery, or progress to a higher level qualification. In some cases, a tech level qualification is a ‘licence to practise’ or can exempt someone holding the qualification from a professional exam. Tech levels are recognised by trade or professional bodies or at least five employers. Alternatively, the qualification may be accepted by a national licensed professional registration scheme.

Diplomas in Veterinary Nursing aim to prepare and support students for a career in veterinary nursing. These qualifications provide a veterinary nursing licence to practise.

Upon achievement of the Diplomas in Veterinary Nursing the learner will be eligible to apply to be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a veterinary nurse.


Pass, Merit, Distinction


Assessment is by a mixture of:

  • assignments
  • examinations
  • Central Skills Log (CSL) – online recording of practical skills
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) – practical examination

Theory and knowledge are tested through assignments and examinations.

  • Assignments are set by CQ and marked by the training provider.
  • Examinations are set and marked by CQ.

Practical elements of the qualification are assessed through CSL and in the final OSCE – a practical exam designed to test clinical skill performance and competencies.

For detailed assessment information, please view the qualification specification on the CQ website.

Further information

Tech level qualifications are advanced (Level 3) qualifications, mainly taken by 16-19 year old students who want to specialise in a specific industry, occupation, or occupational group. They equip students with specialist knowledge and skills.

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Tech level qualifications that do not meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • Applicants holding unreformed Tech level qualifications may not have had experience of external or synoptic assessment.
  • The reformed and unreformed qualifications will be delivered by schools and colleges at the same time (see ‘Education context’). Therefore, HEPs may wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications.
  • The dual running of the qualification may result in applicants declaring the incorrect version within their application. UCAS will be working to support applicants and advisers in this area.
  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to the reformed versions and likely to result in students developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains up to date. HEPs may also wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications, and any differences should be clearly articulated.

Tech Levels are designed to support progression to employment, an apprenticeship, or to higher education.

Progression to higher education is generally within the vocational area of the Tech Level, and may be to a foundation degree.

The exact curriculum studied may depend on the choice of optional units taken.

View DfE's technical guidance

Qualification specification: Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing

Qualification specification: Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing – Equine