The week of Oct. 14-20 is National Veterinary Technician Week, and Vatterott College in Fairview Heights is celebrating by bringing awareness to the field’s career options and the important role veterinary technicians play for animals and the community.
Vatterott College is one of only a few in the St. Louis Metro Area that offers an accredited Veterinary Technician degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2020, the number of veterinary technician jobs is expected to grow by 52 percent, making this career one of the fastest-growing occupations. About 41,700 jobs are expected to be added during that timeframe, making the projected employment for veterinary technicians about 121,900 jobs across the U.S. by 2020.
“Ninety-five percent of our 2017 graduates found employment as veterinary technicians,” said Dr. Nancy Wolfe, veterinary technician program director at Vatterott College in Fairview Heights. She also noted that she sees more open jobs in the veterinary technician field than can be filled. “There are not only available positions at veterinary clinics, but also research facilities, zoos and veterinary pharmaceutical companies, making this an ideal career choice for animal lovers seeking a career in a growing occupation.”
Advances in veterinary medicine are enabling pet owners to get advanced treatment for their pets, a significant factor in the field’s growth. Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of veterinarians, performing various medical procedures, including collecting laboratory samples; taking and developing X-rays; administering anesthesia, vaccines, medications and other treatments prescribed by a veterinarian; as well as providing nursing care or emergency first aid to ill or injured animals. Veterinarians continue to perform more specialized tasks like surgery, allowing veterinary technicians to perform many of the other medical services and more complex work, rather than hiring veterinary assistants, which usually requires only a high school diploma, GED or postsecondary certificate.
“Veterinary technicians work side by side with a veterinarian to ensure the optimum care for their patients as well as peace of mind for their owners,” said Dr. Wolfe. “This can range from helping them recover from a surgery to giving them a small treat for being so brave while receiving vaccines.”
At Vatterott College in Fairview Heights, full-time students can earn an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology in just under two years. Graduates are eligible to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam, which is required to become a licensed veterinary technician. They also receive specialized training to handle the many different types of species they can encounter, including cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, hoofed animals and other animals. The program concludes with an externship, where students gain hands-on experience working in an animal clinic, hospital, research facility or farm-animal practice. Dr. Wolfe works closely with the veterinary community to place graduates in jobs that best fit their skill set and geographical location.
Vatterott College in Fairview Heights, Illinois is currently enrolling students for their Veterinary Technician program. Day and evening classes provide students with the flexibility to continue their education. For information about this program, visit www.vatterott.edu or call (618) 293-0025.
About Vatterott College
Vatterott College has been providing career training to students seeking the skills to advance in their field since 1969. Vatterott, with headquarters in St. Louis, has campuses across the Midwest. Diploma, associate and bachelor degrees are offered in trade industries and computer technology, with 10 campuses in four states as well as online programming. To learn more, visit www.vatterott.edu.
PHOTO: The facilities at 110 Commerce Lane contain approximately 25,000 square feet of labs and classroom space. The school offers trades, medical, technology, health and beauty, and continuing education programs to a diverse group of students. (Photo from the website)