ACM30317 Certificate III in Captive Animals (Sydney)

ACM30317 Certificate III in Captive Animals (Sydney)

The Certificate III in Captive Animals is the pathway to zoo keeping. Students will further develop their knowledge in animal husbandry through a combination of regular theory lessons and practical experience at Taronga Zoo Sydney.

Graduates of the Certificate III in Captive Animals can seek employment as a zoo keeper, or animal keeper in aquariums and wildlife parks.

Course details

The Sydney course is run over 1 year full time with intakes in January and June. Classroom sessions will be conducted once per week on Monday or Tuesdays (intake dependent) from 4.00pm to 8.00pm.

  • Course Structure: This course includes a combination of class and practical on site days at Taronga Zoo which both occur weekly
  • Practical Requirements: The practical component of this course is one day per week at Taronga Zoo Sydney. Practical placements will commence as early as 6.30am and finish by 4.00pm. Practical placements can be scheduled across all 7 days of the week subject to student and campus availability
  • Study Load:
    - The Certificate III in Captive Animal encompasses 16 units of competency. In addition to class and practical requirements, you will be required to conduct independent study in your own time
    - The Certificate III Captive Animals is listed as a 1200 hours course. This includes all face–face time with TTI as well as independent study. Depending on your level of skill and prior knowledge, you may find that you require more / less independent study than others in the course

Course entry requirements

  • Students must be a minimum of 16 years of age on commencement of the course
  • Students must be an Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or New Zealand Citizen
  • Students must attend all practical days as allocated
  • Students are expected to attend all classroom lessons
  • Students must hold the Certificate II in Animal Studies or equivalent or have a minimum of 12 months demonstrated experience working with animals, prior to commencing in the Certificate III in Captive Animals
  • Students should have a reasonable level of health and fitness in order to fully participate in the course
  • Students should demonstrate good English skills, both written and verbal, and basic numeracy skills

In addition, students will be required to attend one full week Monday-Friday from as early as 6am on our Taronga Food Prep division. Students will be given a chance to elect which week they attend within the first 6 months of their course. On this week students will not be required to attend their rostered division but will still be required to attend class.

Units of competency

Core Units

  • ACMWHS301 Contribute to WHS processes
  • ACMGAS301 Maintain and monitor health and wellbeing
  • ACMGAS302 Provide enrichment for animals
  • ACMGAS303 Plan for and provide nutritional requirements for animals
  • ACMCAN301 Work within a captive animal facility
  • ACMCAN302 Prepare and present information to the public
  • ACMCAN311 Care for young animals
  • ACMCAN304 Prepare and maintain animal housing
  • ACMCAN305 Assist with capturing, restraining and moving animals
  • ACMCAN306 Monitor animal reproduction
  • ACMSUS201 Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices

Elective Units

  • ACMCAN310 Assist with exhibit design and renovation planning
  • ACMGAS306 Assist with conditioning animals
  • ACMINF301  Comply with infection control policies and procedures in animal work
  • AHCBIO302  Identify and report unusual disease or plant pest signs
  • ACMCAN303 Support collection management

Note: All 16 units (11 core and 5 elective) must be completed to gain the Certificate III in Captive Animals.


Upon successful completion of ACM30317 Certificate III in Captive Animals, further study options may be available external to Taronga including ACM40217 Certificate IV in Captive Animals and ACM50117 Diploma of Animal Technology.

Application process

Applications for the January 2020 intake are now open, please click here to complete the application form.

The online application process is used to determine your suitability within the course. Ensure you spend time reading the questions and completing your application before submitting. Please note that the application form is not designed to be completed on a mobile device. Please use a laptop or desktop computer when applying.

All applicants must:

  • Read the Course Information above and ensure you can meet the requirements of the course before lodging an application
  • Read the Taronga Training Institute Student Handbook prior to completing an application
  • Complete ALL questions in the online application. Incomplete applications  will not be accepted and cannot progress any further
  • Read the terms and conditions below of applying - proceed to apply only if you agree and can comply with the conditions 

During the online application process you will be required to provide the following information and documentation:

  • Answer the selection criteria questions contained within the application
  • Copies of your Student Transcript and Certificate II in Animal Studies or evidence that you are enrolled in the course and will complete prior to commencement of the Certificate III or evidence that you have had at least 12 months experience working with animals in the form of a detailed written reference. Electronic copies of this information should be gathered prior to commencing your online application as you are requested to submit the documentation during the application process
  • Your Unique Student Identifier (USI) - This can be otained during the enrolment process if you do not currently have a USI

On submission of your application you should receive a confirmation email to the email address you provided within your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email from Taronga Training Institute within 24 hours, please contact us at

Applicants who are short listed to progress to the second stage of the enrolment process will be required to attend a face to face interview. Phone interviews can be organised if necessary.

If your application is successful, you will be required to provide the following documents upon request from TTI:

  • Certified copy of your birth certificate or passport as proof of Australian Citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Certified copy of your photo I.D.

Applicants are welcome to apply for more than one campus and need only complete the application once.

For the January intake you can apply for/express interest in between 1 and 5 campuses by listing your preferences within the application. Only the Sydney campus is available to be selected for the June intake. If you are successful in securing a position in the course you will be offered a position at the campus of your choice, where available.

If your first preference is not available we will move through your list of preferences. Please give careful consideration to your ability to relocate/ commute should you be offered a position at a campus that is not local to you.

Course dates

January 2020 intake, Monday class

Weekly classes, 4pm - 8pm on the following dates:

  • 20 January 2020
  • Tuesday due to public holiday: 28 January 2020
  • 3 February 2020
  • 10 February 2020
  • 17 February 2020
  • 24 February 2020
  • 2 March 2020
  • 9 March 2020
  • 16 March 2020
  • 23 March 2020
  • 30 March 2020
  • 6 April 2020
  • Tuesday due to public holiday: 14 April 2020
  • 20 April 2020
  • 27 April 2020
  • 4 May 2020
  • 11 May 2020
  • 18 May 2020
  • 25 May 2020
  • 1 June 2020
  • Tuesday due to public holiday: 9 June 2020
  • 15 June 2020
  • 22 June 2020
  • 29 June 2020
  • 6 July 2020
  • 13 July 2020
  • 20 July 2020
  • 27 July 2020
  • 3 August 2020
  • 10 August 2020
  • 17 August 2020
  • 24 August 2020
  • 31 August 2020
  • 7 September 2020
  • 14 September 2020
  • 21 September 2020
  • 28 September 2020
  • Tuesday due to public holiday: 6 October 2020
  • 12 October 2020
  • 19 October 2020
  • 26 October 2020
  • 2 November 2020
  • 9 November 2020
  • 16 November 2020
  • 23 November 2020
  • 30 November 2020
  • 7 December 2020
  • 14 December 2020

Terms and conditions

Please read carefully before applying

Thank you for your interest in studying with the Taronga Training Institute. By completing this application you acknowledge the following conditions:

  1. Your application will be evaluated and if you are successful, you will be offered a position in the Certificate III in Captive Animals with the Taronga Training Institute. Commercial course fees can be paid in full or in two equal instalments. The first instalment is due within two weeks of the offer being made. The second instalment is payable approximately 4 months later. Any students awarded a Smart and Skilled subsidised position will be required to pay the student component of fees upon acceptance of a position in the course. NOTE: No payment of course fees is required until being offered a position in the course and the offer being accepted at which time payment of course fees will be required
  2. The completion of your application does not constitute enrolment in the course. All applications will be reviewed based on eligibility and merit. Applicants deemed most suitable, based on their response to the selection criteria questions contained within the application will be invited to attend an onsite or telephone interview approximately 4 - 6 weeks after applications close. You may withdraw your application at any stage, prior to being offered/accepting a position.
  3. You understand that if you are successful in being offered a position in the course in Sydney, you will be assigned to one day per week of practical placement. Practical days will start as early as 6.30am and finish by 4pm. Classroom lessons will be held weekly on either a Monday or Tuesday from 4pm - 8pm. The class date is assigned based on the intake.
  4. Students are required to attend ALL practical days; any that are missed will need to be rescheduled and may incur an administration fee.
  5. Attendance is expected at ALL classes; attendance of less than 80% of classes may result in the missed unit/s of competency needing to be repeated at the student's expense prior to being eligible for the issue of a qualification.
  6. You understand that a requirement of this course is the completion of the Certificate II in Animal Studies or equivalent certificate or minimum of 12 months documented experience working with animals, prior to commencing study in the Certificate III in Captive Animals. You agree to provide evidence of your enrolment and/or successful completion of the course if offered a position.
  7. You understand that during placement at Taronga Zoo (Sydney), all instructions given by Taronga Zoo staff must be adhered to for your welfare and that of the animals.
  8. You understand that in order to be eligible to study with the Taronga Training Institute you must be an Australian Citizen, permanent resident of Australia or a New Zealand Citizen residing in Australia.
  9. You understand that it is a requirement of this course that you wear the Taronga Training Institute student uniform when you attend classes and onsite practical days. The uniform consists of a polo shirt and jumper. The course fee includes one polo shirt and one jumper (two polo shirts at the Dubbo, Adelaide, Perth & Melbourne Campus). Additional uniform items can be purchased at $45 per item.
  10. The Taronga Training Institute is committed to minimising its use of paper. As such you confirm you have access to a computer to access course material, and upload assessments. The use of a laptop (preferred) or tablet in the classroom is necessary. You must be computer literate and can access the internet to upload and download assessments and course work when required.
  11. You understand if you enrol into a course with Taronga Training Institute you will be required to access the online student management system on a regular basis to receive and send communication to the institute.
  12. You will answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your ability

Work Health and Safety considerations:

  1. Self health assessment. Taronga Training Institute is required and committed to ensure that all prospective students satisfy the inherent requirements and job demands of the course for which they are being considered and that all students are safe in fulfilling the practical components of their course. This information is required for the purpose of assessing your fitness for participation in the course. Please Note: medical clearance may be required if requested by Taronga’s WHS Manager.
  2. Taronga’s Veterinary and Animal Health Team in consultation with Taronga’s Work Health and Safety Manager would like to advise you that working in some areas of the Zoo poses a risk to both animals and humans in the transfer of tuberculosis. Taronga requires you to provide TB clearance prior to commencement if you are identified as being in a high risk category for tuberculosis. You will need to provide TB clearance if you fit into any of the following categories:
  • Born overseas in a high TB incidence country
  • Lived overseas in a high TB incidence country for longer than 3 months
  • Have known exposure to a TB positive person

Please note: TB clearance is not required prior to acceptance of a position in the course

Please be advised that the risk of contracting TB is very low. However, you may choose to seek further advice from your health professional.

Frequently asked questions

How is this course assessed?


Course assessments are a combination of written answers to questions, reports, case studies, projects, practical activities, observations of students performing tasks, self assessments and supervisor reports.

What sort of jobs can I get with a Certificate III in Captive Animals?

This course may provide you with employment opportunities as a zoo keeper, aquarium attendant, wildlife park worker or theme park animal attendant.

How long is the course?

Certificate III in Captive Animals is a one year course at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and a one year block format course at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Melbourne Zoo, Perth Zoo & Adelaide Zoo

When do classes start?

Certificate III has one intake per year for Dubbo, Melbourne, Perth & Adelaide commencing in January or February depending on the specific site and two intakes per year for Sydney commencing in January & June. Refer to the relevant course pages for information on application opening dates and classroom dates and times.

How much does the course cost?

The current course cost for 2020 is $AUD 7,230.00. Please note this can be subject to change prior to course commencement.

I have some general questions about studying with Taronga

We have captured the most common questions and answers about studying at Taronga on our general frequently asked questions page.