Monday, July 20, 2009

Animal Care Program at Vol State

Americans have millions of animals and spend more than $41 billion a year on those pets. U.S. Department of Labor statistics project that animal medical care will be one of the fastest growing job fields in Tennessee. Volunteer State Community College is responding to the need by offering a new Animal Care Technology Certificate starting this fall.

“It’s intended to train people to become veterinary assistants,” said Dr. Douglas Shaw, who will coordinate the program. “The other potential employment opportunity would be research facilities, like Vanderbilt.”

Dr. Shaw has worked in private veterinary practice and taught veterinary classes at Ohio State University. He holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from Colorado State University. He says the first two classes offered in the fall will be Vet 101 and Animal Science. Students in the certificate program, which can be completed in one year, will learn the fundamentals of animal husbandry, animal physiology and basic veterinary medicine. Facilities are under renovation at Vol State, so students will have some hands on experience with animals at the college.

“The students who finish the certificate course work will do clinical work out in the field with veterinarians,” said Dr. Shaw.

Vol State is putting together an application to grow the certificate program into a full Associate of Applied Science degree program. That process may take a little time. But students can start with the certificate work.

“All of those first year certificate classes will then apply to the full A.A.S degree and once they have that degree they will be able to sit for the boards,” Dr. Shaw said.

Students can start taking classes in the fall by simply applying to the college. They will then need to officially apply to the program as well, which is expected to be competitive. For more information visit or call the Math and Science Division at 615-230-3261.

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