There is no question that having qualified and knowledgeable staff is of great benefit to the success of your business.

OATA has been offering both members and non-members the opportunity to gain specific fish-keeping qualifications since 1997 and our Certificate and Advanced Diploma courses are highly respected across the industry.

Designed to be cost-effective and convenient, OATA’s courses can be studied at home and there’s no time limit on how long you take to complete the course, until you ask for the test papers.

And don’t just take our word for it. Find out what students themselves say about the courses on our Training Testimonials page.

How to purchase:


By Post:

To order by post follow this link OATA training fees & order form


What does the course cover?

Both the Certificate and Advanced Diploma cover the following four subjects – but in much more depth for the Advanced Diploma.

Water Quality

Ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, pH, hardness, reverse alkalinity, buffering, density, dissolved gasses, temperature, water sources and medication of water types.


Mechanical, biological, chemical, sterilizing filters and filter use and design.

Fish Biology

Fish identification, external anatomy, internal anatomy, gill function, physiology, hazardous aquatic species, reproduction, transport, ecology.

Fish Health

The health/disease balance, stress and handling, the physical environment, the chemical environment, pathogens, viruses, bacteria, fungus, tumours and fish treatments.

More information on the course content

If you choose, you can just do just one of the four courses on the Certificate level, but you will only get your full Certificate qualification if you pass all four parts. This makes it ideal for keen hobbyists who might only be interested in one or two areas. But we would urge anyone who works in the industry to do all four parts and get their Certificate qualification – or indeed their Advanced Diploma. You study at your own pace and, when you are ready, you contact us to send you the examination papers. We ask that these are completed and sent back to us within 30 days. The Advanced Diploma students also have a telephone exam to complete as well.

COURSE Certificate  Advanced Diploma
Method of study Home study  Home study
Course titles 1. Water Quality
2. Filtration
3. Fish Biology
4. Fish Health
1. Volume One: Water Quality and Filtration
2. Volume Two: Fish Biology and Fish Health
Course prerequisites None None – however, prior experience of fishkeeping is recommended
Course objective To gain a basic understanding of fish-keeping To gain more detailed knowledge of fish-keeping
Course start date When the student is ready When the student is ready
Course length Students decide (although as a guide, 3 months is common) Students decide (although as a guide, 12-18 months is common)
Course availability Worldwide Worldwide
Assessment availability Assessment is optional and available in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales only. You only get your certificate if you complete all four. Assessment is optional and available in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland  and Wales only. You only get your Diploma if you pass all exams.
Method of assessment Brief written exam paper Written exam paper and telephone interview

Where can I find out more about the courses?

You can download the Postal order OATA training fees & order form which gives you all the information you need, including costs and information about discounts for OATA members.

And to give you a flavour of the Certificate and Advanced Diploma levels have a look at some extracts below.

Example of Certificate training package

Example of Advanced Diploma training package

We also work closely with the following colleges which offer specific courses and qualifications in fish keeping, animal health and welfare: Barony CollegeHadlow CollegeReaseheath College & Sparsholt College