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UTM launches veterinary program

UTM launches veterinary program
Veterinary technologists can be described as the equivalent of R.N.s in the animal world, and the vet-tech job market is expected to grow by more than twenty percent in the next six years.
“There are lots of diverse job opportunities. The job market is really strong,” said Jason Roberts, assistant professor of animal science at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Roberts and others are currently celebrating the recent launch of the new veterinary technology program at UT Martin, which began with the start of the spring 2012 semester, with four new courses: medical terminology, pharmacology, advanced lab and an exotic animal course.
“We, in the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources, are very excited about this new degree.  Our advisory board, which met in December, is composed of veterinarians, veterinary medical technologists, animal rescue persons and former UTM graduates interested in making this program one of the best for West Tennessee,” said Dr. Danny Walker, UT Martin lecturer of several of the vet-tech courses.
“The numbers are really good. One of the classes has 65 students in it,” Roberts said. “Probably our long-term goal is around 30 per class or 120 in the whole program.”
The goal may not be hard to reach as Roberts said the program has attracted numerous current upperclassmen at UT Martin, and the Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources is being bombarded with calls from high school students and parents.
“There’s been a lot of excitement,” Roberts said. “We thought there would be a lot of interest, but there’s been more than expected.”
The program cannot be officially accredited until its first students graduate, which is expected in 2014. Graduates will have a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a veterinary technology emphasis, and will then be able to sit for the national veterinary medical technology licensure examination that will allow them to practice with a veterinarian in a clinic, farm, educational or research facility.  
“A degree of this nature allows the graduate many opportunities for employment in West Tennessee, as well as nationally,” Walker said.
“Though there are other veterinary technician programs in our state, this is the only program with a four year degree with this particular composition in the University of Tennessee system.”
Walker added that a local humane society and arescue group have agreed to provide animals for the program so that students can gain hands-on experience assisting with blood tests, vaccinations and spays and neuters, which also gives the animals a better chance of adoption.
“Though students will practice on mannequins for the collection of blood and the injection of vaccinations, they will be given the opportunity to assist the veterinarian with these procedures on the live animals. The veterinarian will perform the requested neuters and spays with students assisting,” Walker said.
For more information on UT Martin’s vet-tech program contact, Roberts at 881-7952 or jroberts@utm.edu.

WCP 1.26.12

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