Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson
Northwestern State University’s Veterinary Technology program completed an accreditation review and licensure assessment that reported 100 percent pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam last year. Ninety-four percent passed since Fall 2021, significantly exceeding the national pass rate of 63.3 percent in 2022.
“These graduates scored equal to or above the national average on the overall total score on the exam as well as in the surgical nursing, laboratory procedures, animal care and nursing, emergency medicine/critical care and pain management/analgesia domains on the exam,” said Dr. Doug Landry, program coordinator. “Our students have easily found jobs in the profession, and I commonly get calls from veterinary hospitals and corporations asking us to direct students to them for employment.”
NSU’s Vet Tech program is part of the School of Biological and Physical Sciences and is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Center for Veterinary Education Accreditation (AVMA-CVTEA). Students have the option to earn an associate degree or a Bachelor of Science in biology with a concentration in veterinary technology. The program has experienced significant changes in the last three years when Landry and Dr. Kaleigh MacQueen were named to the Vet Tech faculty.
“Students and new faculty had to overcome the difficult challenge of altered instruction from the Spring 2020 semester through the Spring 2021 semesters due to the COVID pandemic,” Landry said. “The program was designed to be conducted in-person due to the many hands-on laboratories associated with the curriculum to complete training in essential skills that are required by the AVMA. Due to capacity limitations, lectures and labs had to be converted to a Hyflex format in which students rotated between in-person and virtual instruction depending on the day. The benefit from this experience is that faculty and staff are now well versed in the electronic audiovisual modalities to supplement the normal presentation of the material, and students now have more resources available to them to assist with comprehension of the material.”
NSU’s is the oldest veterinary technology program in Louisiana and received its initial accreditation in April 1981. The program goes through a rigorous and thorough site visit every six years by a team sent by the AVMA-CVTEA. The last site visit was in September 2021 and involved a comprehensive self-study report and interviews by the site team with assessment of finances, administrative organization, facilities and equipment, clinical resources, library resources, admissions/student numbers, faculty/staff, curriculum and student outcomes.
Landry said the number of students in the program has increased steadily in the last few years and the demand for graduates entering the workplace typically exceeds the number that graduate each year.
“I regularly receive calls from veterinary hospitals looking to hire employees. There is a growing number of corporately owned veterinary hospitals that are looking to recruit our students to fill vacancies. Two of our top students that graduated this Spring 2023 semester have been accepting into the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine beginning in Fall 2023,” Landry said.
Landry said the program is ideal for students with a solid math and science background, strong work ethic and the ability to work with others as a team.
“Obviously, they must possess an interest in healthcare, a compassion for animals and have a desire to be the ‘voice’ for our patients. Most graduates of the program go on to work in veterinary hospitals, but there are several top tier students each year that use the program to complete prerequisite courses and gain animal experience to pursue veterinary school.”
Landry is optimistic about departmental growth and producing graduates who continue to achieve high VTNE pass rates that exceed the national average.
“Ultimately, we want to produce Registered Veterinary Technicians that are compassionate, intelligent and skilled employees that can be an integral part of the animal healthcare community,” he said.
Information on Northwestern State’s Veterinary Technology program can be accessed at https://www.nsula.edu/sciences/degree-programs/veterinary-technology/.