Nothing beats acquiring your first job two weeks BEFORE you have even written your final exams, and this is the enviable position that seven (count ‘em – SEVEN) of our graduating Veterinary Hospital Assistant students find themselves in.
Brittany Hartfelder and Michelle Richardson have been hired by Lakeshore Animal Hospital, Natasha Williams and Geneva Delaney have been hired at Vernon Veterinary Clinic, Kiara Dubois and Daryl Susan Morrison have been hired by Rutland Pet Hospital, and Catherine Meyers-Miller has been hired by Tri-lake Animal Hospital. Of these hires, four students were given the heads up about open positions by their instructors on the Veterinary Hospital Assistant course, one was hired halfway through her practicum with the clinic, one sent in her resume which was kept on file until they were hiring, and one responded to an ad they spotted online.
“Our animal nutrition Instructor told our class about the opening positions at her clinic,” explains Brittany. “I asked to do my practicum there and they offered me a full-time position half-way through my practicum.”
“I handed in my resume, cover letter, and references 5 months ago and the lovely people at Tri Lake Animal Hospital held onto them until they were hiring for a Veterinary Technician Assistant position,” says Catherine. “I went on to do my interview and working interview; when they hired me I was ecstatic because this was my first-choice clinic. Getting hired at a clinic you love may take time, but the wait is worth it.” “Having instructors who also work in the field is something I think that helped a lot with employment,” says Natasha, “as they know exactly what a clinic will be looking for and what is most important to know while working in a clinic”
“The CAT Veterinary Hospital Assistant course is a very thorough course and teaches you so much that it really makes the students stand out from the rest with our knowledge and readiness,” adds Kiara.
“I believe the compassion and knowledge the teachers bring to the school has given me the opportunity to find a position, focus and realize my goals,” explains Catherine, with Daryll adding that “student services sending out job ad emails and information to keep us updated and in the loop” was also helpful.
All the new hires are looking forward to long-term careers in the profession, with long term goals ranging from becoming an ultrasound technician (Brittany), to helping with worldwide animal rescue organizations (Catherine) or eventually to become Vet Techs (Natasha, Michelle, and Kiara). To close, we asked all the ladies for advice that they would give to students coming into the VHA program:
BH: Don’t just sit in your classroom and study the whole time, get out into the other buildings, meet new people. You never know what kind of connections or advice will come your way if you just step a bit out of your comfort zone of the Veterinary Hospital Assistant room!
CMM: To get the most out of the program I recommend putting your heart into it and focus on learning as much as you can. It is a short course with a lot of valuable information that you will need to use in your future careers in the Veterinary Medical field. I recommend knowing your learning style; for example, I made cue cards for every single test and that helped me achieve the grades I desired. I plan on keeping the cue cards and using them for future reference material. It is very important to be respectful and interested during class, as the teachers are all professionals in the Veterinary Medical Field and could possibly guide you in finding your future career. Working in the Veterinary Medical field is a difficult career path and it is not for everyone. You must be passionate and completely devoted to this career because we are responsible for an animal’s quality of life and our interactions not only affect the animals but the well-being of the clients.
KD: Be ready to study, study, study!! That is what made me learn and be like a sponge of information. Also, I really have a passion for this line of work; I think it really helps you work hard for what you want.
MR: My advice is to work hard and maintain a good relationship with your instructors – who knows, they may be instrumental in helping you with your future career in animal care! It’s only 9 months and it absolutely flies by, so enjoy it – even the tough times!
NW: Always be keen! Don’t turn down any opportunities and always ask questions! Introduce yourself and get to know as many people as possible as they may help you with a career opportunity, or steer you in the right direction.
DSM: Don’t let the hard stuff stop you, push through and you’ll make it. It’s the effort that counts.