You don’t have to be a vet to work with animals – other roles emerge and you can qualify for them in half the time.
THE six-year veterinary degree is no longer the only option for those who wish to work with animals, with a multitude of qualifications offering rewarding careers in a fraction of the time.
Wayne Hein, director of animal and veterinary sciences at the University of Adelaide, said that a range of university courses allow people to take on various roles within animal health.
âOver the past couple of years, we have deliberately tried to diversify the degrees we offer where you can work with animals,â he says.
âA lot of people don’t quite have the personality or the ability to run a six-year college program.
âWe now offer a middle path where you don’t have to do the six years but you can still go way beyond (what a professional qualification) can provide. “
Last year, the University of Adelaide introduced a three-year veterinary technology degree to train people in the emerging role of veterinary technician or associate veterinarian, able to provide high-level hands-on veterinary care, including anesthesia. , surgery and diagnostic imaging.
The degree, which is also offered at the University of Queensland and Charles Sturt University’s Wagga Wagga Campus, complements a series of three-year programs focused on animals, including animal science and animal behavior.
Hein says the degrees are in response to the growing demand for animal care services.
âThe percentage of pet owners is increasing and people are adopting a very different attitude towards their pets – they are now part of the family,â he says.
âIf you have a veterinary diploma or a veterinary technology diploma, you will be in high demand. “
Animal Industries Resource Center business director Sue Crampton said people with professional qualifications – ranging from a Certificate II in animal studies to a veterinary nurse degree – are also seeing strong job growth.
She says demand for workers has been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has seen more families stay home with their “furry babies” and unprecedented demand for puppies, kittens and other pets.
âThis has resulted in an increased demand for veterinary personnel at all levels and therefore opportunities exist for people looking for an alternative to the university route,â Crampton said.
âThere is currently a nationwide shortage of qualified and experienced veterinary nurses in veterinary clinics and workplaces, making the demand for entry-level personnel an attractive option for the employer and employees. “
Veterinary technology student Leah Brown has always dreamed of working with animals and has spent time in South Africa to help with elephant and rhino conservation efforts.
Once she graduates, Brown believes her skills will allow her to be more patient-oriented than she could be as a vet.
âVets don’t have the time to do the serious, behind-the-scenes stuff needed to run a veterinary clinic, like pre and post-operative care,â she says.
âThis (qualification) will allow me to be very practical with patients rather than just going in and out (moving on to the next case). “