INA, Ill. (Oct. 31, 2017) – When Rend Lake College and Southeastern Illinois College (SIC) teamed up to offer a single semester veterinary assistant program in August, they did not anticipate the high level of interest it would generate.
Originally, the program was slated to run for a single semester once every couple of years; however, due to continued interest, the program will be offered again in January.
Registration has already begun at both RLC and SIC, and space is limited, so those interested are urged to register early. Eligible students may also receive financial aid for this program.
Instructor Adrea Petro, who works at Sesser Animal Hospital as a certified technician, says her class provides the foundation for students to learn the basic job skills needed to perform veterinary assistant tasks and prepares them for an internship or apprenticeship, where they will further their on-the-job training. Much of the class is hands-on, including a CPR dog, as well as front office skills and “client communication with a smile.”
The program also trains students in animal grooming, making them more marketable for a variety of jobs. This hands-on class with furry clients is available for those in the program and for students only interested in the animal grooming aspect.
Kim Wilkerson, RLC Dean of Allied Health, said the one-semester certificate program is a great opportunity for those interested in a degree in veterinary technology or veterinary science.
“The Vet Assistant program provides students with well-rounded knowledge of animal nursing and grooming, as well as the behind-the-scenes work at veterinary facilities and an internship at a local veterinary clinic. For anyone interested in animals or becoming veterinarians, this is a logical first step,” said Wilkerson. “We have a limited number of spots, so those interested should apply early.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for non-farm animal caretakers in general, including pet groomers, will increase by about 11 percent between 2014 and 2024, a faster than average growth rate. The BLS also reported strong job opportunities for pet groomers due to the increasing number of households that own pets and high turnover in grooming positions.
Courses are offered on RLC’s campus in Ina, with some training at SIC’s David L. Stanley Center in Carmi. After the spring class, plans are to offer the certificate program again in the fall of 2019.
For additional information, visit www.rlc.edu/programs-and-degrees/205-veterinary-technology, or call 618-437-5321 Ext. 1251. Students in SIC’s district should call 618-252-5400, ext. 4130.