Vet Tech offers hands-on experience

JoJo Brinkhoff
Entertainment Editor

Vet Tech dog washVeterinary Technology Program (Vet Tech) is the Agricultural department’s expanding degree.

This year, roughly 32 students enrolled in the Vet Tech Program.  (This number doesn’t include students who are taking Vet Tech classes for extra credit and the pre-Vet Tech students.)

According to Jay Wilkins, agricultural instructor, Vet Tech is a nursing program for animals.  Vet Techs are required to be as skillful and knowledgeable as a veterinarian. However, Vet Techs must work under supervision when working with animals.

Before applying for the Vet Tech Program, students must take a Pre-Vet Tech class.  If the students pass the class, they may apply for the Vet Tech degree.

In some cases, the test isn’t the only thing the students must pass.  Vet Tech instructors will check the students’ GPA and background history.  Some things the instructors look for are experience with animals, job shadowing at an animal hospital and people skills.

“A Vet Tech is very diversified, you have to deal with animals, but you also have to deal with people,” said Wilkins. “Some people deal well with animals and don’t deal well with people…and some function well with people, but not well with animals.”

However, Vet Tech is not all work. The Vet Tech students are involved in fun activities such as dog washes, nursing home visits and pet photos. These activities not only give the students hands-on experience, but also help the community as well.

“I honestly believe we’re probably the best Vet Tech Program in the state,” stated Wilkins. “…we have some proof to back that up.”

One evidence is the passing rate. According to Wilkins, the passing rate for the Vet Tech Program has been high, reaching 100 percent for years.

Another evidence is the Vet Tech Academia Bowl.  According to Allison Moret, Vet Tech major and team member, the Vet Tech Academia Bowl is a Jeopardy-style competition where each team chooses any multiple questions from five different categories. If the team answered correctly, they would earn whatever point the question was worth. The higher the points, the harder the questions.

“The first round, we kind of took it a little easy…and we were lagging behind,” said Moret. “In the last few rounds, we ended up pulling it [the score] up…winning by 1000 points.”

The competition, according to Stephanie Watson-Bruto, Vet Tech instructor, was designed to “show off” Vet Tech students to any veterinarian who would be interested in hiring later on. Since the Vet Tech Academia Bowl started in 2010, Crowder’s team has been victorious three years in a row.

In the future, Wilkins would like to expand the Vet Tech Program so that more students can apply.  For now, however, Wilkins is focusing on improving the program.