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'We have to tell people we can’t see them' | Veterinary hospitals overwhelmed, RCC working to get more vet staff into the industry

Randolph Community College’s veterinary assistant program now has a national certification that makes students more qualified to enter the field of animal care.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Triad veterinarian hospitals are busier than ever because of the pandemic.

Point South Animal Hospital in Randleman said they are worried about their business and what means to be in the profession.

The hospital's manager Nancy Berdeen said there are emergency hospitals in the area that have wait times as long as eight hours because they’re the only option on weekends.

Berdeen said they are lucky to have not lost any staff, but the growing number of pet owners needing care for their furry friends is at times more than the team can bare.

“Sometimes we have to tell people we can’t see them. It's hard. It's emotional for people,” Berdeen said. “When they need to get in and they can't come because you physically can't do it.”

Students who graduate from Randolph Community College's veterinary assisting program could help lighten the load and add extra staff to assist with office needs.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians for America recently certified RCC’s veterinary assisting program.

It’s the first community college in North Carolina to get this level of recognition.

Our Veterinary Assisting program was recently approved by NAVTA and is now the only NAVTA-approved VA program in the...

Posted by Randolph Community College on Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Vet assistants are on the front lines assisting with surgeries and in exam rooms.

RCC’s dean of workforce development, Randy Gunter said graduates of the program from now on will leave more qualified and accepted in the vet assisting industry.

“It makes them more qualified to go into a vet clinic and gives the clinic an employee that comes to them with some experience and some training,” Gunter said. “So they can jump in and hit the ground running from day one.”

Gunter said often times the training students get at the clinic leads to a permeant position.

Vet assistants who graduate from RCC typically make a starting pay of $30,000 a year.

Berdeen said the recognition the community college now has is great because they don't have to look far to hire highly qualified assistants.

Unfortunately, right now it’s hard for them to make those connections.

“We use to have students come in and do their intern hours but when the pandemic hit we have put a freeze on allowing anyone in the building that doesn't need to be in there,” Berdeen said.

Point South owners said when COVID trends improve they will allow students to work with them again and potentially offer them a job.

In the meantime, the animal hospital will do its best to keep up with demand.

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