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Vet Tech Program Added at UWRF

By Kendra Knutson
UWRF News Bureau

OCT. 9, 2006--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has added a new veterinary technology program to its roster of majors.

Because of the program, UWRF was the right choice for sophomore Sarah Burton who wanted a hands-on career working with animals.  

"I chose the veterinary technology program because I didn't want to go to school for eight years to be a veterinarian, but I still wanted a career working hands-on with people and their animals," said Burton, from Menomonie.  

The program was approved this past May. It gives students a shorter school term option while still being able to work in the veterinary field and receive a bachelor's degree, according to Larry Baumann, professor in the animal and food science department at UWRF.

While the veterinary technology emphasis is still new, six to eight students are currently enrolled or interested in enrolling. Baumann has been the driving force behind the vet tech program. "Students who want to work with animals as a career can now get a degree without the full route of becoming a vet," said Baumann.

The program is designed so that students will spend about three and a half years at UWRF taking general classes with the animal science major and then will go on to take another year and a half of the vet tech classes at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) or another university that offers them.

Students who complete the program earn a a bachelor of science degree from UWRF as well as a two-year associate degree in applied science from Madison Area Technical College or another university with the vet tech program. Currently a partnership exists between MATC and UWRF for the program since MATC is the only college in the state that offers these courses.

"The work I have done with Madison Area Technical College has been a pleasant experience," said Theresa Theobald, a junior from Sheboygan Falls, Wis. However, some students have also chosen to go to Argosy University in the Twin Cities.

Baumann said they are working to have the vet tech program become nationally accredited. As part of the program students must intern in a veterinary clinic for the entire summer. Students can also use the program as a segue to other degrees.

There are basically three types of degrees in the veterinary field. First, is the two-year degree (A.A.S.), which will enable students to become a veterinary technician. The second is a four-year bachelor of science (B.S.) degree with students becoming veterinary technologists. Last, is the seven- to eight-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degree with students earning the licensed veterinarian status.

Students with a B.S. degree can expect to make about $5,000 more per year than those with an associate's degree, said Baumann.

Most veterinary technologists will work in companies and corporations than in clinical practices, says Baumann, and often they take a career path in pharmaceutical company research laboratories. Veterinary technologists usually serve as supervisors of the veterinary technicians. The demand for veterinary technologists is becoming greater due to the creation of so many new drugs and products on the market.

" I would say that if a person wanted to help animals but is not as strong in areas such as chemistry, the vet tech program would be a good option," said Theobald.  

Burton agrees. " I would definitely recommend this program to others because it is a well organized program that not only gives you the chance to get a bachelor's degree but builds on the pre-vet classes," said Burton. " I would like to work at a veterinary clinic, with mostly small animals and a few large animals. I would like to do what veterinary technicians do and even more."


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:39 Central Daylight Time


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