30 Sep Hybrid Program Allows Vet Tech Students to Work and Study Simultaneously
By Andrea Foley, DVM, Veterinary Technician Program Director and Attending Veterinarian, Madison Area Technical College; and Sabrina Freter, CVT, BAS, Veterinary Technician Instructor, Madison Area Technical College
Like many other states, Wisconsin is experiencing a shortage of Certified Veterinary Technicians. Data from Wisconsin TechConnect, a website that matches technical college students with employers, reported more than 135 full-time and over 50 part-time openings between September 2018 and June 2019.
To address the problem, Madison Area Technical College (Madison College) developed a part-time, year-round, flexible option for veterinary assistants currently working 20 hours or more per week in a veterinary clinic. Students can complete the program in two-and-a-half years.
In the Veterinary Technician Hybrid Program, students take lecture courses online and complete their American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) essential skills either at the clinic where they work, at Madison College or at a predetermined location.
Core hybrid and online courses are offered in a sequence; each course builds on prior material. Students have the opportunity to earn Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) for five core courses while working in a veterinary clinical setting. Tuition is reduced for CPL courses and students are assessed by exams, portfolios and/or face-to-face skills evaluations.
All associate degree courses are offered through online and hybrid format with the exception of two general education courses:
• Principles of Animal Biology or Zoology (4 credits)
• General, Organic & Biological Chemistry (5 credits)
These courses, along with any required general education courses, may be taken at another institution, provided they meet the transfer requirements for Madison College. In order to progress through the course sequence, it is highly recommended that students take college biology and chemistry before starting the core Vet Tech courses in the online and hybrid modalities. Another option is to complete these courses before or during the first semester of the hybrid program.
Hands-On Learning Labs
Core hybrid course labs are located on and off campus and occur roughly four to six times per semester. Fewer hybrid labs throughout each semester reduces travel time for students.
The hybrid student’s primary work duties must include animal contact and handling. A credentialed veterinary technician and/or DVM serves as a mentor to the student and aids in the honing of the essential AVMA skills.
Upon completion and graduation from the program, students are ready to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
Madison College started another cohort this fall. The program is limited to 16 students for each start.
For more information about the Veterinary Technician Hybrid Program, visit madisoncollege.edu/program/veterinary-technician or contact Andrea Foley at AMFoley1@madisoncollege.edu or Sabrina Freter at SFreter@madisoncollege.edu.