Always Wanted to Work with Animals? Here’s the Program You’ve Been Waiting For

Ask any group of eight-year-olds what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll likely hear a chorus of “veterinarian!” (My own answer at that age was “marine biologist,” which I thought meant feeding fish to amusement-park dolphins in front of a cheering crowd. Didn’t quite achieve that goal, thank dog though I do sometimes toss sardines to my pup while my toddler cheers us on. What?) If there’s still an eight-year old inside of you who longs for a career working with animals, read on to learn from the experts at Argosy University, Twin Cities about an opportunity that awaits you there.

A career working with animals is well within your reach — whether you’re about to graduate high school or college, or reading this from your corporate cubicle. A degree known as Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology is right in your backyard at Argosy University, Twin Cities (AU, Twin Cities). What’s more: it can take as little as two years to complete the program.

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To learn more about AU, Twin Cities’ Veterinary Technology program, a Sidewalk Dog representative visited campus (Editor’s note: the campus is GORGEOUS) to speak with program chair Paula Lind. If you’re a pet owner, you’ve probably interacted with plenty of veterinary technicians (VTs): they’re the friendly folks who support your veterinarian in just about everything: first aid, injections, radiographs, lab testing, dental work, anesthesiology, client education, and more. While many VTs can be found in vet clinics, they also work in research, agriculture, zoo, or wildlife facilities. AU, Twin Cities’ program is designed to prepare students to become entry-level veterinary technicians for this fascinating field, according to Paula.

Paula explains that in addition to the core skills required for an American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited program like the one at AU, Twin Cities, the university also places a strong emphasis on empathetic pet care. The animals who receive care from the Veterinary Technology students are privy to consistent socialization and enrichment, as well as stress reduction techniques. Faculty impress upon students the importance of progressive philosophies such as positive handling techniques and treating each animal as an individual. This means that pet owners who bring Fido to a vet clinic with an AU, Twin Cities graduate in its ranks can expect compassionate care in addition to state-of-the-art clinical expertise.

During the Sidewalk Dog tour several cheerful students stopped to chat with the group about their experience with the program. Britta Colon, who enrolled after several years as a stay-at-home-mom, tells us that she “always loved animals, so going to school to be a vet tech just felt like a natural choice.”

Britta describes AU, Twin Cities’ instructors as good-humored, passionate, and generous with their time. “They’re willing to be mentors,” she said. “They’re energetic and informative, and they’ve helped me feel very prepared for what’s next.”

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Her favorite part of the course work? Hands-on time with the animals, naturally! AU, Twin Cities students are responsible for caring for and socializing the animals housed there. (Editor’s note: Faculty calls this a requirement. At Sidewalk Dog, we call it a perk!)

The animals who visit AU, Twin Cities to be (gently) poked, prodded, and played with by students are adoptable dogs from local rescues and shelters; they receive free routine health care in return. Additionally, Veterinary Technology students frequently team up to fundraise for local nonprofits such as Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue and Helping Paws. Says Paula, “This is a program that’s invested in its community.”

The deep bond developed between students and animals who meet at AU, Twin Cities has led to many happy endings: Paula relays that many of the pets who receive care at AU, Twin Cities are adopted by students, faculty, staff, or their friends and family. Britta has adopted two cats from the Veterinary Technology program, one of which has a chronic health condition. “Not only did the program introduce me to my cat, but it also helped me know how to care for him,” she notes.

To Paula, the connections fostered between students and animals are essential to the AU, Twin Cities Veterinary Technology program: “When they develop relationships with and empathy for the animals, it nurtures their commitment to our field – and to our local community. It’s the best part of my job.”

This post was sponsored and written by Argosy University, Twin Cities. AU, Twin Cities is hosting a Vet Tech Career Day on Saturday April 2 from 10:00 am – 2:30 pm. The event will include an overview of the profession; the opportunity to learn more at various stations including anesthesiology, radiology, emergency care, massage therapy, and more; and a Q&A session with faculty and employers – plus lunch and prizes. It is open to the public but RSVPs are requested; call 651-846-3300 or email for information.

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