Over the last several years, there has been a growing need for veterinary technicians in West Virginia, with many veterinary clinics and hospitals looking to local colleges for answers. Pierpont Community & Technical College has faced that challenge head on, using its Veterinary Technology (vet tech) program to help bridge the gap between its qualified graduates and the growing need for veterinary technicians in the state.
Pierpont’s vet tech program, which is designed to prepare students for careers in the dynamic field of veterinary medicine as veterinary technicians, is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (CVTEA). It trains the next generation of vet techs to work in all aspects of animal health, disease and welfare.
“The veterinary technician is a vital resource to any veterinary facility,” says Anna Romano, assistant professor and program coordinator of Pierpont’s vet tech program. “Technicians work hand in hand with veterinarians to care for the health and welfare of all animals.”
The vet tech program, which has been serving the Fairmont community for decades, has built a reputation of providing students with a high-quality education. Previously ranked among one of the top 30 veterinary technology programs in the country, it prepares students to hit the ground running when they begin their exciting careers as veterinary technicians.
Along with the ongoing shortage of qualified technicians, there is expected to be significant growth among the job demand.
“According to the Department of Labor, the projected growth for veterinary technologists and technicians will be faster than the average career path,” said Dr. Michael Waide, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Pierpont. “There is expected to be a 15% increase in jobs over the next seven or so years.”
“The field of veterinary technology is rapidly growing,” adds Romano. “There almost isn’t a facility that is not in need of more technicians.”
The Pierpont vet tech program is meeting those job demands by creating a curriculum that provides the quality and hands-on training that the veterinary medicine industry desperately needs.
“Our students are trained in all areas of veterinary practice, including anesthesia, surgical assisting, patient treatment and care or any other duty needed for animal care. We are preparing our graduates to work in any veterinary medicine scenario.”
And with the expected growth, Pierpont has continued to show the importance of the program to the community. Last summer, a nearly $2 million investment was announced that creates a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility to house the vet tech program at the site of the former Clarksburg Eye Center.
Remodeling of the facility, located on the same block as Pierpont’s Gaston Caperton Center, includes updates to the existing building to create classrooms and hands-on learning spaces for students. This will include all new kennels to house the animals cared for by the program.
“The vet tech program, with its new state-of-the-art center, will be there to meet the needs of the industry, preparing a skilled and qualified workforce for veterinarians and clinics throughout our area and West Virginia,” said Dr. Waide.
The facility is expected to be completed by January and will be modeled like a modern veterinary hospital.
As the job demands of north central West Virginia keep evolving, Pierpont will continue to evolve with it. By providing highly skilled workers, Pierpont continues to give its graduates, like those in vet tech, the opportunity to move this community into a brighter future.