Interested in animals?

Youth veterinary medicine project begins

by Richard Parrish

Hays County Extension Agent

The Hays County 4-H and Youth Development program is sponsoring a program that will help youth begin a career in veterinary medicine. A meeting to introduce the program will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 30 at the Buda Vo-Ag Building located on FM 2770 in Buda. The meeting is open to all Hays County youth ages 8 to 16.

Angie Dement, Texas Cooperative Extension Assistant for veterinary medicine, will lead the introductory meeting.

During the session, Dement will outline the curriculum, goals and objectives of the project. Students will then have an opportunity to enroll in the project and develop a plan for the first year. Three to six adults are needed to be the primary leader and assistant leaders.

Students who sign up for the project “will be committed to a five-year plan of study that is career-oriented, meaning throughout the program they will work directly toward a career in veterinary medicine,” said Buddy Faries, Extension veterinarian and author of the curriculum.

Over the course of 100 lessons and 50 activities, students will focus on the major careers of veterinary medicine: veterinary assistant, veterinary technician, and veterinarian.

Students can select other areas-including human medicine-to study, Dement said.

The classes are geared to the grade level of the students. High school students will have the opportunity to compress the time frame of the curriculum to two or three years.

“At the end of the program they are job trained,” Dement said. “The kids will be placed in a setting to work with veterinarians and are expected to complete a certain number of hours of on-the-job work, usually in the veterinary clinic.”

Those students who are 16 and older may even earn paid positions at the clinic where they start out as volunteers. At the end of the program, students who have completed the necessary hours and the curriculum will receive a certificate of completion and can then apply to become a Certified Veterinary Assistant.

“So, when they graduate from high school they can pursue that career without further education,” Dement said.

She added students wishing to become veterinary technicians or veterinarians will have several more years of college ahead of them to receive advanced degrees.

Overall, Dement said the project provides the students career direction, job training and a sound education through course work and instruction. The cost of the program is $40, which will purchase the Veterinary Assistant Handbook that is used for the entire five years.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Bryan Davis at (512) 393-2120.

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation in order to participate in this meeting are encouraged to contact Bryan Davis at the Hays County Extension Office at 512-393-2120 to determine how reasonable accommodations can be made.

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