Blinn College veterinary technology students posted a 100 percent passing rate on national and state licensure exams in just the program’s third year.
All six students passed the national and state exams to become fully-credentialed registered veterinary technicians, one of the fastest-growing professions in the nation according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians in much the same way nurses assist doctors, and as the nation faces a shortage of veterinarians, clinics are looking to veterinary technicians to help fill the demand for veterinary care.
Blinn is one of just six accredited programs in the state that offer veterinary technician training, and the College’s partnership with Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences allows Blinn veterinary technology students to perform clinical rotations at Texas A&M, right alongside students studying to become veterinarians.
“That partnership has allowed Blinn to give its students more experience at the College of Veterinary Medicine working with vet students, and it also allows Texas A&M to familiarize itself with and then employ registered veterinary technicians who are graduates of our program,” said Clinical Coordinator David Sessum, who worked at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine for 10 years before coming to Blinn. “There are a lot of people who want to get their education with the A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, and that’s a big point in our recruiting efforts.”
Those efforts have resulted in quick growth for the program. After six students enrolled in 2011, the 2012 class expanded to 16. This year, 31 total students are enrolled.
Blinn’s vet tech program works with large and small animals alike, and the requirements for the Associate of Applied Science degree consist of roughly half lecture and half lab classes. Students also perform rotations at a variety of local clinics.
“We try to incorporate as much hands-on learning as possible,” Sessum said. “I think that’s one of the nice things about this program, because there is a lot of lab time and a lot of hands-on experience.”
During first-year clinical rotations, each student is required to work one-week stints at five different veterinary clinics. Second-year students spend up to seven weeks at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Teaching Hospital, where they perform the same tasks as a fully-credentialed veterinary technician.
While most are employed in private veterinary practices, graduates also find employment with animal shelters, stables, reproductive facilities, zoos, wildlife facilities, pharmaceutical sales, the military and homeland security.
“The demand is there for veterinary technicians,” Sessum said. “Because there hasn't been a local veterinary technician program until now, there’s a need for registered veterinary technicians at Texas A&M and the clinics in the surrounding area, and we’re looking to fill that void.”
For more information on Blinn’s veterinary technology program, visit: www.blinn.edu/twe/vet_tech