Lines now open
- Click here to Speak to a course adviser now
or call us on 01202 006 464

Case Study: From Reptile Awareness To Veterinary Science

19th October 22

Why Michael Downey Studied Not One But Three Of Our Online Animal Courses

Education is in many cases the gateway to achieving your career goals, and that’s no different in the animal sector. From species-specific courses to those that cover an entire avenue of animal care, there’s always a way to improve and advance your knowledge.

Michael Downey, a recent graduate of our Animal Course Direct Level 3 Award in Reptile Studies, tells us why he decided to embark on another two animal courses after building his knowledge of reptile care, welfare and behaviour.

michael downey with snake on table

Firstly, congratulations on achieving your Level 3 Award in Reptile Studies! What inspired you to go down this route of study? Have you always had an interest in reptiles? 

Thank you. I've always been interested by animals in general but what made me interested in reptiles in particular was when I realised just how big and out of control in some areas the trade in exotic pets is, and how misunderstood and neglected reptiles and their husbandry needs are.  

Had you heard of Animal Courses Direct before you enrolled? If so, how did you hear about them? If not, how did you discover the course? 

No. I was looking for reptile related courses in particular and Animal Courses Direct and one other provider had the best options. 

You mentioned in your testimonial that you enjoyed the balance of the course, were there specific aspects of your learning journey that you think potential new students would benefit from? 

The course is not academically challenging but requires some self-discipline to complete. The structure of the course is clear and easy to follow. The expectations of the assessments are made very clear. 

How long did it take you to complete the course? 

I enjoyed it so much that it did not take me long to work through all the materials. I think I did it all within a couple of months if I recall correctly.  

michael downey holding snake

Did you experience any challenges during your studies? If so, how did you overcome them? 

I was very keen to read around the topics and did not always know where to turn for reliable information about reptile husbandry and medicine. It would be great to have even more suggestions on how to read around topics covered by the course. I overcame this challenge by ordering some books on the topic of reptile pet husbandry and common medical conditions. 

It’s great that you have secured volunteer and outreach work. Can you tell me a bit more about this? What’s involved? 

I am a volunteer at a Serpentarium, a museum that has over 200 snakes of different species. I mainly help with outreach and educational activities but also with seeing to the daily husbandry needs of the diverse range of snake species and am fortunate enough to also learn from a specialist veterinary surgeon.  

How do you think achieving your Reptile Studies qualification will help your career? 

I see it very much as a stepping stone. The course has not given me all the knowledge I need. But it has allowed me to ask the right questions and given me ideas and inspiration for further research in this area.  

How would you sum up your learning experience? 

Very interesting and well-structured summary of key knowledge required to start to understand reptiles.

It’s exciting to hear that you’ve almost completed the Veterinary Nursing Assistant Level 2 Diploma, what motivated you to study this? 

I wanted to learn more. It's as simple as that.  

Next step is the Access to Higher Education (Veterinary Science) course! What are you hoping to do with this qualification? 

I want to improve my basic science knowledge so that I have the basic knowledge to continue learning more about physiology, parasitology, and histology from the scientists I am lucky enough to meet on a regular basis through my volunteer work.  

How would you sum up your experience with Animal Courses Direct from enrolment to course completion? 

Friendly tutors. Well-structured courses. 

Learn More About Reptiles Online

If you’re inspired to learn more about reptiles this Reptile Awareness Day, you too can build your knowledge about the behavioural, welfare and care needs of reptile species around the world.

To give you an insight into what you can expect, we asked Michael for a few final thoughts on the Ofqual regulated Reptile Awareness course he studied:

“I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It was a perfect balance of independent research and study and feedback and advice for further reading from the very helpful tutor. The course has given me the knowledge and confidence to engage with reptile rescue projects and I have managed to secure a volunteer position working with many different species of snakes and doing outreach work encouraging people to take better care of their pet reptiles.

“I have managed also to successfully rescue and nursed other reptiles thanks to the practical care advice given in this course. The course was a perfect introduction and inspiration for further study at a more advanced level. It inspired me to continue my animal learning journey and I have now soon to complete the veterinary nurse assistant course. This course and the voluntary work that it allowed me to obtain have been life-changing and inspired me to follow my dreams of working more with animals.”

If you’d like to find out more, check out our online Level 3 Award in Reptile Studies or explore our full range of animal courses. Or, if you’d prefer to talk to an animal career expert about your options first, call our team now on 01202 006 464 or contact them online

You can also keep track of all animal awareness days and events with our FREE calendar! Download it here.

Sign up to our Newsletter

Call us