Washington State University has launched a first-of-its-kind certificate program for high school-aged students contemplating careers and secondary education in veterinary medicine.
The program, known as the Junior Veterinary Scribe Certificate, is open to anyone ages 16 or 17 and is designed to prepare graduates for entry-level positions in the veterinary field, including as a scribe, or to provide more advanced skill sets for those who are already working in a clinic. The certificate is one of three currently available through WSU’s Veterinary Paraprofessional Certificate Program, which also offers a Veterinary Scribe Certificate and a Veterinary Preventative Health Certificate to those 18 and older.
“The Junior Veterinary Scribe Certificate is a unique opportunity that equips students with a solid foundation and the essential skills needed for a career in veterinary medicine,” Program Administrative Manager Veronica Sweeney said. “The certificate is great for students who are thinking about veterinary medicine as a career path.”
The program consists of 10 online modules that cover a range of topics related to veterinary scribing, including medical records and terminology, anatomy, physiology, diagnostic testing, basic pharmacology, professionalism, and more.
Sweeney said WSU has partnered with several companies eager for junior certificate holders to apply for remote positions as veterinary scribes. She also noted students who currently volunteer or work at a veterinary clinic can increase their job responsibilities and enhance their experience while supporting their veterinary team.
The program is also a great opportunity for students to get a sense of what it’s like to work in a veterinary clinic, which can help them decide if they want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
“Many high school students are uncertain about their career paths after graduation,” Sweeney said. “Our program offers them a unique introduction to the animal science field and helps them make informed decisions about their future.”
For students planning to pursue higher education in animal science or related fields, the Junior Veterinary Scribe Certificate offers a significant advantage by covering topics that parallel coursework in veterinary technician programs, pre-veterinary studies, and other biology-related fields.
While not a guarantee of acceptance into veterinary school, it enhances applicants’ profiles with its unique educational experience.
“When they go to do those college applications for veterinary school, it’s a bit of a unique twist on an educational experience that a lot of other students may not have,” Sweeney said. “This can help to set their application apart from others.”
The time to complete the certificate varies based on a student’s educational background and experience, but most can expect to conclude the program in between 90 and 130 hours. Students are allowed six months to finish the course, giving flexibility to those with different learning paces and scheduling needs. Parental consent is required for a minor to enroll, and the cost of the program is $500.