Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Internet, besides an abundance of cute kitten pictures, is the depth and scope of education possibilities. Gone are the days where getting certified in a field or attending college for a degree meant leaving home and family and traveling to an educational facility instead of having the education come right into a home computer.
Gone also is the necessity to attend night school after a long grueling day of work instead of sitting down at a computer during a lunch break and on weekends. With the availability of WiFi, a college class can now be taken at a son’s baseball game or a daughter’s soccer match. The possibilities are virtually limitless and the only barrier now seems to be finding the right program for the student’s interest.
One field that seems to lend itself well to online education is that of veterinary medicine. While practical experience does come into play, the “book learning” needed to succeed in this field works particularly well through online education. After all, from the veterinary assistant to the veterinary technician to the veterinarian him or herself, computers run the office, consolidate records, and facilitate proper patient care at all levels.
For those who are just starting out in the veterinary field, becoming a veterinary assistant can be a good first step. This is a position where on-the-job training definitely comes into play, however, as with pretty much every other starting position, bringing more to the hiring table benefits the employee. Earning a veterinary assistant certificate can be what makes one candidate outshine another.
Programs such as those offered by Penn Foster, Ashworth, and Stratford offer the educational skills that employers are looking for in this competitive job market. A veterinary assistant certificate means the student has learned:
* The basics of the medical terminology involved in the medical field of animal care.
* The basic role of a veterinary assistant, including appropriate care of the animals of different breeds.
* Sanitary and prophylactic procedures regarding the facility, kennel, surgery and examination rooms.
* Facility administration, such as computer program operation, scheduling, records maintenance, and patient information.
* Patient protocols, i.e., providing general animal care information, nutrition, medication, vaccination and other care-related specifics.
For those wanting to advance their education and for those who know they want a degree to become a veterinary technician, online courses are going to allow the student to volunteer and/or work in their field as they get their degree.
Getting this degree means an involvement of approximately two years with the exact time depending on what the student accomplishes as they work through course material.
Throughout four semesters, in addition to the above skills a veterinary assistant acquires, there will be emphasis on the following areas:
* English and business and technical writing, including history documentation and record keeping
* Computer applications, mathematics and veterinary office management to allow the technician to facilitate the running of a veterinary practice, laboratory and research center
* Animal genetics, reproduction, nutrition and aging encompassing of companion and domesticated animals, as well as farm animals.
* Diagnostic imaging inclusive of radiation and ultrasound performance, development, and related protocols.
* Anesthesiology and surgical procedures to include preparation for, assistance during and proper sterilization techniques at all stages.
* Anatomy and physiology of animals, the mechanics of the animal body.
* Pharmacology as related to veterinary medicine.
* Animal diseases, including pathology, immunology, and parasitology, both an overview and breed specific.
As with many online education programs, there will be practical experience required with veterinary science degrees and many schools offer placement assistance with this part of the course requirements.
Because of the specific nature of online classes – basically the ability to take them according to the student’s schedule rather than the school’s schedule – an online student may find the practical part of the degree requirements is easier to accomplish, even with a work schedule.
Of course all the usual college bonuses are present, including assistance from instructors and advisors, online libraries, student led study groups, and course materials.
Unlike regular college classes, students are not limited to normal class hours when seeking assistance. Instructors are an email away and, as many students are participating in their practicums, it’s not unusual to find online student groups at all hours of the day and night.
For someone who is already working in a veterinary facility, taking classes after work will help add practical experience to the materials being studied.
Animal care is a growth field with over 377 millions pets as of 2010-2011 as noted by the American Pet Products Association. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics of projecting a 14% rise in veterinary assistant positions and a 52% rise in veterinary technician careers, these in demand and highly rewarding jobs are readily within the realm of possibility for students who take advantage of the easy availability of online college classes.
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