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NewsWednesday, November 9, 2011
Veterinary Technology Program Reports 90 Percent Pass Rate on the Veterinary Technician National Examination
CONTACT: DR. PEGGY CHAMPION, 646-1357
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/9/2011
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- Tri-County Technical College's Veterinary Technology program reports a 90 percent pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).
The 10 2011 graduates who elected to take the exam are now licensed veterinary technicians, a title held by individuals who earn an associate degree in Veterinary Technology from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited program like Tri-County's and have passed national and state credentialing exams.
Tri-County graduates must pass this national credentialing exam before they are eligible to take the state licensure written exam.
Ten of the 11 graduates who elected to take the exam passed, said Dr. Peggy Champion, who had led Tri-County's Veterinary Technology program for the past seven years. Eighteen students graduated in May 2011. The national average for the VTNE is 68 percent, said Dr. Champion.
The VTNE, administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, is a timed, computer-adaptive test consisting of 200 multiple-choice questions and 25 pilot questions that cover the graduates' knowledge about the following content areas or domains: Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Surgical Prep. and Assisting, Dentistry, Laboratory Procedures, Animal Care and Nursing, Diagnostic Imaging, and Anesthesia and Analgesia.
Dr. Champion credits the program's changing its method of teaching with the high pass rate. "We are teaching using a case-based method. We match the veterinary case to what the students are learning. Students also take mock exams on the computer, which has really helped. We found students had a fear of the test itself and were able to overcome this by taking lots of practice tests that mimic the real exam," she said.
"We also found a study guide that is excellent in all seven domains of the VTNE. I'd like to see a 100 percent pass rate on the VTNE year. That's my goal."
Licensed veterinary technicians (L.V.T.'s) work closely with veterinarians and other members of the veterinary team to deliver quality animal health care. Today's profession requires advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of animal nursing and critical care, inducing and monitoring anesthesia, assisting in surgery, postoperative care and recovery, diagnostic imaging, zoonotic disease, client education, hospital management and laboratory duties.
Specifically, L.V.T.'s take radiographs, administer treatments, perform diagnostic tests, clean teeth, anesthetize patients and give post-operative care. They also perform managerial office tasks like answering the phones, scheduling appointments, managing patient records, maintaining drug and supply inventories and managing staff.
"The need for licensed veterinary technicians in the state is huge. South Carolina's practice act and laws governing veterinary medicine has emphasized the need for L.V.T.'s in every aspect of the profession. As more veterinary practices follow in the footsteps of human medicine and its technological changes, the requirements for trained veterinary personnel are increasing by leaps and bounds," said Dr. Champion.
Licensure means everything in this profession, she added. "Every veterinarian in the state wants to hire licensed technicians."
There are lots of job openings for licensed technicians, she said. adding that it is among the top five professions in the country now, as far as job stability. "Yet, we don't have enough to meet the demand. The need far outweighs the availability of licensed technicians."
Dr. Champion recalled the last practice she worked at (in a large city in Florida) that employed one veterinarian, four technicians and three assistants and grossed $1.5 million annually. "We saw about 35 patients a day. I was able to spend time with the animals and their owners because we had great technicians who were qualified. All I had to do was to be the doctor, which means diagnosing, prescribing and performing surgery. Those are the only three things a technician can't do."
"We are graduating excellent students who are receiving amazing job offers," said Dr. Champion. "One of our graduates is working at the Animal Medical Center of New York and two are at Angel Memorial in Boston. The two biggest referral clinics in the world hired our graduates and are very happy with them," she said.
Most recently, Jayne Hutcheson, a May 2011 grad, is among the three veterinary technology students, chosen nationwide from 20 applicants, to participate in a year-long paid internship program at the University of Tennessee (UT). The University's Veterinary Technician Internship Program is the only one of its kind in the country.
"Our graduates get more animal experience in our program than a lot of four-year veterinary technology programs," she said.
Tri-County's program is accredited by the AVMA and endorsed by the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians. The department now accepts 24 students in the fall day classes and 12 students in the evening classes.