Animal Humane Society offering new vet tech training program amidst shortage

Animal Humane Society offering new vet tech training program

Animal Humane Society offering new vet tech training program

The Animal Humane Society is offering a new veterinary technician training program in the midst of a major statewide shortage.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, an unprecedented 22% of veterinary technician jobs statewide went unfilled in 2022. A spokesperson said that is more than double the previous record high for vacancies in this job, set in 2020.

The Animal Humane Society launched the Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program earlier this year, offering a seven-month paid training program on-site in Golden Valley.

“It’s kind of a novel idea. It’s a unique thing that we have right here in the Twin Cities,” said Dr. Kate Farmer, a veterinarian at the Animal Humane Society. “To my knowledge, this is one of the only programs in the country that exists as an in-shelter training program.”

Farmer said the shortage of vet techs is a big challenge for the Animal Humane Society.

“Having veterinary technicians is essential to the work we do. We can’t do it without them,” Farmer said. “Veterinary technicians function very similarly to nurses. They do all of our surgery prep, they do lab testing, they do intubation, they do blood draws. There’s been a tremendous shortage of people wanting to do this work. What that means for us as veterinarians is we’re able to help less animals.”

Farmer said AHS has seen wait times for surgeries increase, along with the length of stay at the shelter.

“It’s really hard to not be able to move them as quickly as we’d like,” Farmer said.

The training program consists of classroom instruction, as well as hands-on practice during exams, treatments and surgeries.

Participants will be paid an hourly salary and receive benefits while participating in the seven-month program, which runs from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

They will be able to work as shelter veterinary technicians immediately upon graduation.

“It makes me really excited to be able to train into something and know that your impact is immediate,” said Hannah Krohn, supervisor of the new program. “You’re able to help the animals here but you’re also supporting the community that’s around us.”

The first cohort, which started training this spring, was made up of Animal Humane Society employees who previously worked other jobs, such as transport, education and adoption services.

The two new cohorts this fall will be open to the general public for the first time.

“We’re just looking for people with a good fit. They’re kind, they’re excited to learn, they’re adaptable, all those things, but they do not need any animal experience,” Krohn said.

Current participant Amanda Troastle added, “It’s really an amazing feeling, just knowing that we’re going to be helping the community in that way as well. We all play a little piece in helping the animals in our community.”

Applications for the fall cohorts are open through July 31st.

NOTE: AHS’s Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program is not an accredited veterinary technician program and graduates won’t be certified veterinary technicians. They will be able to work as veterinary technicians at AHS shelters and may continue their education at a formal institution if desired.

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