Donna High School junior Madison Kromer and a handful of her classmates are one step closer to reaching their dreams of becoming veterinarians one day thanks to Donna ISD’s new Veterinary Science Certification Program.
“I’ve always thought I wanted to be a veterinarian because I’ve always loved animals,” Kromer said. “As a little girl I would watch shows on Animal Planet and now I’m getting do some of the same things I saw on TV.”
The preparatory training provides students with the knowledge, motivation, and skills necessary to pursue an associate, undergraduate, graduate or professional degree in the veterinary sciences.
Instructor Tracy Cadena said Donna ISD is one of a few school districts in the Rio Grande Valley that offers the program. “We are very privileged that our district has allowed us to add this program to our curriculum,” Cadena said. “To my knowledge, not every district offers this program, so we feel very privileged.”
Students must take a series of three courses beginning their sophomore year, the first of which is a Livestock Production class.
As juniors, they move on to the Veterinary Medical Applications class. “During their junior year, I start looking for a vet service to place them in,” Cadena said. “They are required to complete 500 hours, 300 of those hours must be under the supervision of a veterinarian or licensed veterinarian technician. The other 200 can be under the instructor’s supervision.”
Kromer said working at a vet clinic has been an incredible experience. “I’ve seen some things that you wouldn’t expect in a vet’s office like monkeys, hedgehogs and parrots,” Kromer said. “It’s amazing, you have to know how to treat all the different kinds of animals. We learn how to give vaccinations and how to help prep the animals for surgery like scrubbing and sterilizing them. We also learn all about the equipment used to take care of the animals.”
As seniors, the students are required to take their final course in Advanced Animal Science. “At the end of their senior year, they will take their state certification exam,” Cadena said. “Once they pass the test, they receive their Veterinary Technician Certification.”
Cadena said students have several opportunities once they receive their certification. “They can continue working with the same vet that they are already working with. Many times, vets are so impressed that they’ll end up hiring the students right out of high school. They can also choose to further their vet certification (with a tier 2 and tier 3) or they can pursue a 4 year college degree. So, this is a really good stepping stone. It opens their eyes to the many possibilities.”
Kromer said thanks to the program she knows now that there is nothing else she would rather do than pursue a career in the veterinary sciences.
“This program is free and it’s a great opportunity for me to see if it’s what I really want to do. After working at the vet clinic last summer, I know now that this is for me. This is what I want to do.”
For more information about the program, contact the CTE Veterinarian Science Program at 956-464-1700.