MARTIN, Tenn. — May was a big month for the veterinary health technology option at the University of Tennessee at Martin. The university was notified that the option received initial accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. Then the first 20 students graduated from the program during spring commencement May 3.
The AVMA website says “initial accreditation means the program is officially accredited.” The option could not be officially accredited until the first students completed the program, which happened in December 2013. Those students completed required internships during the spring and officially received their diplomas during May commencement. Graduates earn a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a veterinary health technology emphasis and can sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam to become licensed.
Another 13 students are expected to graduate from the program in August. Rachel Stegall, of Martin, was among those who received a degree in May.
“I have always had a passion for animals so knew that I wanted to be in the animal health-care world one way or another,” Stegall said in an e-mailed statement. “When I heard about the veterinary health technology option, I knew it was my calling.”
Stegall becomes a full-time veterinary health technologist June 1 at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky. Hagyard is one of the oldest and most prestigious private equine practices in the world.
“Earning initial accreditation is a significant milestone for our program,” said Dr. Jason Roberts, veterinarian and UT Martin assistant professor of animal science. “This speaks to the high quality of the option and the university’s support for offering the best possible academic experience and preparation for students.”
Veterinary technologists are best described as the equivalent of registered nurses in the animal world. Courses were first taught in fall 2011 at UT Martin, and 120 students are now pursuing the option. It’s one of 24 accredited bachelor’s degree programs in the country, the only four-year program in West Tennessee and the only accredited veterinary technology program in West Tennessee.
“There are lots of diverse job opportunities for licensed veterinary technologists,” Roberts said. “The job market is really strong.” Graduates can pursue careers working with veterinarians in clinics, veterinary hospitals, research, education, animal pharmaceutical sales and other options.
The UT Martin program features hands-on learning opportunities with small, large and exotic animals on a 700-acre teaching farm. Situated on the farm is the university’s Agricultural and Natural Resources Teaching Complex. Two veterinarians and two veterinary technologists teach in the program that offers internships with local veterinarians, referral and teaching hospitals, zoos and laboratories.
Program information is available by contacting Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 731-881-7952.
Suggested Photo Caption:
MARTIN, Tenn., May 19, 2014 – VETERINARY HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ACCREDITED – UT Martin’s veterinary health technology option has received initial accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. The program graduated its first 20 students during spring commencement May 3. Dr. Jason Roberts (center), veterinarian and UT Martin assistant professor of animal science, works with students at the university’s teaching farm.