Children as young as 8 years old can now prepare for a career in the veterinary profession.
It's never too early to encourage your veterinary clients' children to explore careers in the veterinary profession. Now children as young as 8 years old, who love animals and science, can start preparing for an animal health career thanks to a new online veterinary science curriculum. “We didn’t have to create an interest for this—it’s already there,” says Dr. Floron Faries, Texas AgriLife Extension Service veterinarian and author of Veterinary Science: Preparatory Training for the Veterinary Assistant.
The new curriculum will prepare students for a job as a veterinary assistant or to continue into a college-level program as a veterinary technician or a veterinarian. The concept is not new but the training curriculum was fueled by additional job possibilities in areas such as homeland security, laboratory technology, and public health. The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense—a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence—funded the project and published the educational resources.
The course is already being taught to more than 5,000 youths in about 100 Texas counties via 4-H, the youth development arm of AgriLife Extension. High school agriculture instructors also use the program. Much of the job growth in veterinary science is in regulatory matters pertaining to homeland security or global public health issues.
The curriculum has a total of 100 lessons: 75 core lessons in basic veterinary science and 25 lessons in clinical science and technology. Fifty additional lessons are being developed to cover topics such as One Health science and technology (the interface between animal and human health), along with laboratory science and technology for those who wish to pursue non-clinical careers.
Depending on the student, the curriculum can be accomplished in different ways. A 4-H club might opt to offer 20 lessons a year over a five-year period. Or a high school class might complete the instruction in one year with daily lessons.
About 100 presentation sessions are available online. In fact, Dr. Faries teaches many of the online classes. Though the curriculum is currently structured to meet educational needs of young people, a fee-based version is being created online for high school graduates who want to pursue a career as a veterinary assistant. Head to aevm.tamu.edu to learn more and find additional teaching materials to share with clients.