February 18, 2003
Vet technology distance-learning program accredited
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine has taken a step to help alleviate the nation's shortage of veterinary technicians with a newly accredited Web-based program.
Purdue's Veterinary Technology distance-learning program received American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation last fall. The program makes a veterinary technology education more accessible, said Robert (Pete) Bill, program director and associate professor of veterinary pharmacology.
"Veterinarians in private practice can't get enough veterinary technicians in their offices," Bill said. "In addition, it is hard for veterinarians to attract students to isolated communities, such as rural areas.
"Distance-learning encourages employees in veterinary offices, such as veterinary assistants who are reliable and mature, to earn an excellent education without relocating to West Lafayette," he said. "Often technician students are older individuals who have full-time jobs and families. This program is ideal for established adults who want an advanced degree."
Veterinary technicians are responsible for more clinical leadership and supervisory responsibilities than a veterinary assistant, Bill said. Technicians also perform physical examinations, collect samples, restrain animals during treatment and administer medication.
This Web-based distance-learning program uses computers for students to complete exercises, download information and interact with other students. The students gain clinical experience while working in veterinary practices in their home areas.
The veterinarian who oversees the student is required to complete a general evaluation. Purdue faculty in West Lafayette assess the students hands-on skills from videotapes of the students' clinical experiences.
"The distance-learning student is someone who is self-organized, self-determined and self-motivated," Bill said.
This spring semester, the program has 125 students enrolled. About 40 percent are from Indiana and 55 percent are from the continental United States or the armed forces. About 5 percent of the student population is international, representing South Africa, Hong Kong and Portugal.
The veterinary technology distance-learning program, which follows the university calendar, was created in 1999, and the first graduates are scheduled to complete the program in 2004.
The Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine offers the state's only doctor of veterinary medicine degree program. In addition, the school offers associate and bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology; graduate training at the master's, doctorate and postdoctorate levels; and residencies in a variety of clinical and diagnostic specialties.
Since the first DVM class graduated in 1963, the school has produced almost 2,400 veterinarians who practice in all 50 states. The school also is home to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which cares for and treats diseases of all domestic, wild and exotic animals. Also at the school is the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, which performs diagnostic tests in support of Indiana veterinarians, livestock owners, wildlife biologists, regulatory officials and university scientists.
The school's research areas include paralysis intervention research, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, equine sports medicine, infectious disease, the human-animal bond and biomedical engineering.
Registration information is available online.
Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723, email@example.com
Source: Robert (Pete) Bill, (765) 494-8636, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/bill.vettech.jpeg.