WSU offers new Veterinary Preventative Health Certificate

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Washington State University’s Veterinary Paraprofessional Certificate Program is now offering a new Veterinary Preventative Health Certificate designed for both new and experienced veterinary professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge in preventative health practices.

The new certificate course, developed by leading experts in the field, equips students 18 and older with the information and skills critical to excelling in the veterinary profession. The course emphasizes client communication and introduces enrollees to important preventative health concepts, including spaying and neutering, vaccination, parasitology, zoonotic diseases, diagnostic testing, dental care, basic nutrition, behavioral health, and end-of-life care.

Many individuals enter the profession without formal training or experience. The program fills that knowledge gap and sets new employees up for success and greater career prospects, making the transition smoother for both the individual and the employer.

“The Veterinary Preventative Health Certificate Program addresses a critical need in the veterinary field,” said Dr. Hilary Koenigs, the director of the Paraprofessional Certificate Program at WSU. “We understand the challenges that new veterinary professionals face, and that’s why our program focuses on practical, real-world scenarios. Graduates will be well-prepared to make a positive impact on the health and well-being of animals.”

Koenigs said the course focuses on communications and preventative health topics that are seen every day in a veterinary clinic.

“We want to give the students the information and tools to help explain to clients why this information is valuable, why things like vaccines and preventatives are really to the benefit of the pet,” she said.

Koenigs noted employers often grapple with the time-consuming tasks of onboarding and training new team members, leading to underutilization of their workforce and decreased job satisfaction. The program aids employers in meeting those challenges and promotes greater job satisfaction within the field.

The program offers students the flexibility to complete the certificate at their own pace online, with most students finishing in approximately 60 to 80 hours. Instructors are readily available through email and Zoom-based appointments to provide guidance and answer questions, ensuring a supportive and interactive learning experience.

“We want to make sure it is a good experience for the student and that they graduate with a solid foundation and skills that will help them immediately in their career,” Koenigs said. “We created the program to be very interactive and supportive. Students have multiple assignments and quizzes where they can apply the information they learned to case-based scenarios and get feedback from us as instructors.”

The certificate was created in collaboration with Cara Veterinary, which contributed training materials to supplement the content. Cara Veterinary, which has 11 veterinary clinics and hospitals in the Seattle area, was founded by Dr. Peter Brown (’91 DVM). Dr. Katie Rawlings (’09 DVM), head of medicine at Cara Veterinary, also contributed in the development of the certificate.

The Veterinary Paraprofessional Certificate Program was initiated in 2022 with the introduction of the Veterinary Scribe Certificate. Recently, the program expanded to include a Junior Veterinary Scribe Certificate aimed at 16- and 17-year-olds.

The Veterinary Preventative Health Certificate course is being offered at an introductory rate of $500.

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