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Veterinary Assistant Program Earns National Certification; Info. Session for Prospective Students Sept. 12

West Windsor, N.J. – For those who would like to turn their affection for animals into a career, Mercer County Community College’s Center for Continuing Studies (CCS) offers a Veterinary Assistant Certificate program that prepares students for entry-level jobs in nine months.  Classes are held on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

First introduced in Fall 2011, the popular noncredit program was recently approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, the nation’s leading veterinary technology organization.  Students in MCCC’s program are now eligible to take the NAVTA’s national certification exam.

According to Read Langan, the CCS’s assistant director, the certification is like a gold star for the program, indicating that the curriculum meets the top standards in the field.

“We are one of only two programs in New Jersey and 11 in the country to receive this ‘seal of approval,’" Langan says. 

Among the members of the Veterinary Assistants class that finished in June are: seated, from left, Justina Siracusa and Melissa Nini; standing, from left, instructor Leslie Sheppard-Bird, students Robin Scheiner, Trish Donahue, Colleen Reasoner, Amanda Briggs and Virginia Armstrong-Whyte, and instructor Tina DeVictoria.

"Prospective students can be assured that our curriculum meets the highest training standards in the field.  Students who get their certification will have a big advantage over those who don’t when being considered for jobs,” Langan added.

The curriculum includes four modules: Introduction to the Veterinary Profession; Nursing Skills; Laboratory Skills and Imaging; and a 75-hour Clinical Externship, which is arranged for each student in a clinical veterinary setting.

Langan notes that graduates often share news of their success.  Amanda Maldonado, who completed her studies in June 2012, is a veterinary assistant at Columbus Central Veterinary Hospital.

“I absolutely love it. I've been learning so much.  Thank you all so much for the education you shared,” Maldonado wrote in an email to her instructors.

Andrea Pace, Esq., a certified veterinary technician, is the lead instructor and program coordinator.  She says the program is designed to provide a gateway for professional development and career change, noting that students range widely in their interests, skill sets and goals.

"Some want to work with large animals, others with dogs, cats and birds, and others with all animals.  We work closely with students to ensure that everyone masters the material and develops the skills they need to be successful," Pace says.

Pace is the former chief counsel for the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  She has also appeared on Animal Cops Philadelphia, part of an animal welfare reality series that runs on Animal Planet, a cable television channel distributed by Discovery Communications.

An information session for the Veterinary Assistant program will be held Thursday, Sept. 12, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Conference Center on the West Windsor campus. The Fall 2013 cohort starts September 17 and concludes in June 2014.

Learners of all ages and interests are invited to “Back to School Night for Adults” on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the MCCC Conference Center.  For more information or to register for classes offered through MCCC's Center for Continuing Studies, call (609) 570-3311 or visit www.mccc.edu/ccs.

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