Do you have a love for animals? Have you ever thought of making a career out of working with animals? The thought of pursuing a new career and committing so much time and energy can be quite intimidating. Your mind might become flooded with questions.
Where do I start? Do I need to go to school? Will it fit into my busy schedule? How long will it take? What do I expect? Is it even the right fit for me?
To help answer some of these questions, I Interviewed Anna Creepingbear, a current UAII client who is in the process of completing her veterinary program at the American College of Healthcare and Technology. In our interview, we discussed what drew her to this field, some of her hesitations, and get an insider's look into the program.
Anna Creepingbear's Journey
Anna's story is similar to a lot of ours. She found herself working temporary jobs, jumping from warehouse to warehouse trying to provide for her daughter, but felt like something was missing. She wanted more, she wanted a job that provided consistency, stability, and a potential to grow. Anna wanted a career. She has always envisioned herself entering the medical field, but felt a closer bond with animals than people. With that in mind, she began working as a pet groomer. She enjoyed her time working with animals and confirmed that she wanted a career involving animals. She began researching career paths that involved working with animals and decided to pursue a career as a Veterinary Assistant.
1. How did Anna find out about her program, and how did UAII help?
Wanting to pursue a veterinary career, Anna conducted her research on veterinary assistant programs and found a few programs near where she lived. Once she identified American College of Healthcare and Technology as her desired program, she reached out to her Workforce Specialist to see if the program could provide any financial assistance. She was able to attend the American College of Healthcare and Technology Veterinary Program, which takes about eight months to complete, free of cost thanks to UAII Workforce Development. She described UAII's support as a true blessing and was very thankful for the program's encouragement and support during the entire process.
2. How did Anna successfully fit schooling into her busy schedule?
Anna was drawn to this program largely due to its flexibility. The program hosted classes throughout the day to accommodate all lifestyles and commitments. She worked as a dog groomer during the day and went to school at night.
3. What does a Veterinary Assistant Program entail?
When attending Veterinary Assistant programs, expect to learn the skills needed to work in a veterinary office. Topics that will be covered include animal nursing and animal care basics, "computer basics, veterinary anatomy & physiology and terminology, office and hospital procedures and billing, pharmacology, and vaccinations." Anna emphasized that her program is fast-paced and requires you to be adaptable and have an open mind.
4. Where do certified veterinary assistants work?
As a veterinary assistant, you are not restricted to working in emergency and general practice hospitals and clinics, you can work in animal shelters, wildlife and zoo centers, diagnostic laboratories, and much more!
5. What is Anna's favorite part of her job?
In our conversation, Anna took great pride in being responsible for other people's fur babies, and truly enjoyed helping animals and their owners. She also loved being involved in the entire medical process. Whether it was taking their blood pressure or assisting with emergency procedures, she felt like she was right where she was supposed to be. Outside of class, she attended pop-up events and had very memorable experiences meeting people with similar interests and networking with doctors.
6. What challenges did she face that she was not aware of?
One of the most challenging experiences Anna faced is the mental toll associated with euthanization and handling deceased animals. Before entering this field and earning her hours at an emergency clinic, the thought of these experiences never crossed her mind. However, Anna takes comfort in knowing that she could provide support and tried to make the process as easy as she could. If you do not think you can handle this part of the job, don't worry. Euthanizations and the handling of deceased pets are for the most part exclusive to working in 24-hour veterinarian emergency rooms. If you want to work with animals but avoid these circumstances, you can work in general practices instead.
7. What are Anna's future career goals?
Anna plans to pursue a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine degree also known as DVM. Anna shared that she would not have pursued this career without the support and encouragement from her family and UAII Workforce Development.
8. What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing this career field?
Anna's message to those who are considering pursuing this career field is "Go for it, just start, don't be intimated." Do your research and talk to your UAII Workforce Specialist. Don't be discouraged by how long something takes, if it's something you think you will enjoy doing, it is worth it.
Anna also provided some insight into the hours you need to work in a hospital to graduate. According to Anna, these hours are a great opportunity to make connections that might lead to a job opportunity once you finish your program. Anna is at the end of her program and is completing her last few hours working at a hospital. She approached her hours, as an audition, and it paid off. A few days ago, she was offered a permanent position at the hospital upon completion of the program.
A veterinarian assistant is a great option for people looking for a career with animals. If this is something you might be interested in, I encourage you to look into it further and mention it to your UAII Workforce Specialist. If you are not already a client with UAII's Workforce Development Program, you can apply at www.uaiiworkforce.com/apply. Thank you to Anna Creepingbear for providing her insights and advice for this role!