App State opens applications for veterinary technology students

Andrew Rice, Reporter

App State began accepting new students for its veterinary technician program. The new program is taking applicants until July 1 after spending the past academic year designing and recruiting faculty, according to a May 10 release from the university’s news and media directory, Anna Oakes.  

The program is accepting first-year student applicants as well as applicants who have prior educational or professional experience. 

The online program is in partnership with Banfield Pet Hospitals in response to the growing need for qualified veterinary technicians in the field of pet care. 

“We are proud to engage in such a forward-thinking partnership to address the market demand for skilled veterinary professionals,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said in the news release. “This program will advance the profession and elevate the role of licensed veterinary technicians.” 

According to a study from Mars Veterinary Health, “It would take more than 30 years of graduates to meet the 10-year need for credentialed veterinary technicians.”

Jennah Bosch is a registered veterinary technician who was accepted into the program in order to become a teacher in the veterinary technology degree program. Bosch said she has seen the increasing need for more qualified veterinary technicians in the field.

Eli Baker, a senior psychology major and pet owner, said they are concerned about the quality of veterinary care in the High Country and state as a whole. 

“There is a lack of competent service providers in the High Country as far as day care and vets are concerned,” Baker said. “Even day-to-day services like grooming are very limited and it takes a lot of planning ahead to get those things done.”

For students like Bosch, investing in the program early not only aligns with her career goals but she believes it can help other veterinary technicians who are not making the money they want to.

“Starting salary for veterinary technicians is between $13 and $25 an hour,” Bosch said. “While that is above the minimum wage, it is less than desirable for the work that the job entails.” 

The online program will include 20 credit hours in subjects such as science, math and communication skills; 50 hours of coursework in specific areas related to the students focus and 240 hours of experience from numerous outside externships. 

Jennifer Serling is the assistant director of the veterinary technology degree program. She said the hardest part of designing the credits for the program was figuring out what kind of classes credentialed veterinary technicians should take. 

Bosch said she is greatly thankful for Serling and program director Virginia Corrigan for their willingness to input student choice for coursework.

“Classes like management, the human-animal bond, burnout and stress, and many more will help in addition to my hands-on experience in my goal to be a teacher,” Bosch said.

According to the news release, the required credits have been selected to curate an online program which combines a bachelor’s of science with the credentials of a licensed veterinary technician in North Carolina. 

“Veterinary medicine is a phenomenal career choice for those who wish to have a significant impact on the health of animals, people and the environment,” Corrigan said.