RVTs, also known as CVTs (Certified Veterinary Technicians) or LCTs (Licensed Veterinary Technicians) are always in demand. Joetta Newman, Chairperson of the Veterinary Technology Program at AB Tech, says being an RVT is the third most recession proof field. Newman said the two-year program attracts students ranging from recent high school graduates to retirees.
Martha Ball, AB Tech Communications Specialist, said the RVT program “can’t produce enough graduates to fill the openings available. Vets are constantly calling us.”
Ball and Newman agreed that about half the graduates take employment in Western North Carolina. The women also estimated that roughly 75% of graduates end up working with small animals, while 25% work in many different fields, from research laboratories, to pet food firms, to the USDA. Newman explained most RVTs don’t want to become veterinarians. “They want to be hands-on with the pets.”
The vet tech program involves both classroom study and hands-on learning. Classes are at the AB Tech main campus in Asheville, while the clinical practice takes place at a facility Forever Friends Lane next to the Asheville Humane Society. The course work covers college level writing and math, plus specific subjects such as anatomy and physiology. “We get them thinking medically,” Newman said. Students gain practical experience through work at the Asheville Humane Society, the Animal Compassion Network, and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, with whom AB Tech has agreements. Students also complete externships in their last semester before graduation, and participate in summer sessions to learn laboratory techniques and clinical practices.
Kari Bowling is working toward graduation in August 2013. She came to the RVT program after being a music major in college and spending 16 years in various careers, including real estate. “I go with the flow,” she said. “I’m thrilled I came to this program. I’m really enjoying myself.”
Bowling said she “loves” all the opportunities the program will provide. She might go into research. Or, unlike most RVTs, she might opt for veterinary school.
Admission to the RVT program is on a competitive basis. Those interested in enrolling for the Fall 2013 semester can get further information at the AB Tech Admissions Office, 254-1921, extension 7577 or 7578. Or the web site, www.abtech.edu/content/veterinary-medicaltechnology-overview.