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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 Western Plains Zoo located in Dubbo.

Grey Headed Flying Fox

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

Course Structure

Course Dates

Applications open

Applications close

12 months


Classes in 5 x 1 week blocks + 4 x 2 week block practical experience

January – December 2019

5pm 1st August 2018

5pm 31st August 2018

Course Information

Certificate III at Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Dubbo) - 1 Year course

  • Duration: The Dubbo course is run in intensive study blocks over 12 months beginning in January each year. PLEASE NOTE: There is no midyear intake of this course at the Dubbo Campus
  • Course Structure: This course includes a combination of class and practical on site days at Taronga Western Plains Zoo which both occur in block format (dates below).
  • Classroom Sessions: Classroom sessions will be conducted over 5 x 1 week blocks throughout the year, Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. In addition, practical placement will occur across four animal divisions on 2 week blocks.
  • 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.
  • Course Location: Classroom sessions and practical placements are conducted at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo.
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.
  • Practical Requirements: The practical component of this course is 4 x 2 week blocks at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Practical placements will commence as early as 6.30am and finish by 5.00pm. Practical placement is allocated by ballot and will be spread throughout the course of the year. Successful applicants will be advised of their practical placement on or before orientation.
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

ACMCAN303 Support collection management

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

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

Course Dates

Course Schedule for February 2019

Class Dates Times

Block 1

Monday 4th February till Friday 8th February 2019


Block 2

Monday 8th April till Friday 12th April 2019


Block 3

Monday 17th June till Friday 21st June 2019


Block 4

Monday 19th August till Friday 23rd August 2019


Block 5

Monday 28th October till Friday 1st November 2019 


* Course dates are subject to change with prior notice


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


Course fee includes all course materials and compulsory uniform items.

The Taronga Training Institute MAY have a limited number of Smart and Skilled funded positions available for this intake of the Certificate III in Captive Animals at Taronga Training Institute*. Please note:Irrespective of eligibility enrolled students may not be offered a Smart & Skilled funded position.

This training is subsidised by the NSW government (Smart and Skilled^). Smart and Skilled funding MAY be available for eligible students - Click here to check your eligibility*

First Qualification*


Second Qualification*




Full Course Value (Without Smart & Skilled Subsidy)**


^ Smart and Skilled pricing as from February 2018. Please note these figures may differ for incoming/future intakes

**Full course fee for a private student not in receipt of a subsidised position.

Application Process

Taronga is an equal opportunity organisation and encourages people from diverse backgrounds to apply to study with us. The application process is used to help determine your suitability to complete the course in conjuction with the support of TTI staff & trainers.  

All applications 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 form. Incomplete applications will not be accepted and cannot progress any further. (Tip: Ensure you give careful consideration to your answers before submitting your application.) 
  • 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 upload the following documents/provide the following information:

  • 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.

How to Apply:

Applications for the Certificate III in Captive Animals are to be lodged online only.

  • To apply for ACM30317 Certificate III in Captive Animals at the Dubbo Campus applicants will need to complete the online application when applications open.
  • Please Note: 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

Entry Requirements:

Students must complete the online application and answer the selection criteria questions contained within the application.  Applicants who are short listed to progress to the second stage of the enrolment process will be required to attend an interview, either face to face or by phone, depending on location.

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.

You can apply for/express interest in between 1 and 4 campuses by listing your preferences within the application. Campuses include Sydney, Dubbo, Melbourne and Perth.  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.

*Please note that the application form is not designed to be completed on a mobile device. Please use a laptop or tablet to complete the application form.


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