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Old 01-16-2013, 05:59 PM
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*blackrose *blackrose is offline
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Default Becoming a RVT: need advice

I will be graduating Purdue University this May with my BS degree in Animal Science and an English minor. I've been employed at a vet clinic for the past six years, mainly working as a kennel technician and an assistant groomer. This past summer I started working as a veterinary assistant and am essentially a tech without the title (although I am still learning a ton). I really enjoy my job, and after graduation in May I am planning to start my associates to become an RVT. I have run into a bit of a snag, though, and I need opinions/ideas.

The future, at the moment, is unpredictable. A few things could happen, at various times, so it is making any future planning quite difficult. The most likely future, and also the most disruptive to my RVT plan, is that sometime later this year or early next year, I may be a military wife. Which means I will not be stationary and who knows how often/where I will be moving/traveling. Because of this, attending a physical school is out. So I started looking into distance learning options (that are accredited by the AVMA). At first I thought everything looked good...and then I realized that a requirement for enrollment was that the student had to be employed at a veterinary clinic.

Although I am currently working at a veterinary clinic and have a ton of hands on experience (and am learning more every day), I can't say for certain that I will be employed at a veterinary clinic in the future because, well, I don't know where I'll be! If I only needed to have access to a veterinary clinic for a set period of time (and not over the course of the entire program) that may be doable...but being steadily employed for at least 20 hours a week may not be an option for me.

So, what are my options? Is there a specific distance learning school that I can look in to that may fit my needs better? Or am I pretty much screwed over?

I realize I have "all the time in the world" to get this degree, but realistically, in the next handful of years I'd like to start raising a family. And going to school, no matter how few the credit hours, during that time is NOT something I want to be doing.

So far, it looks like the schools that offer AVMA accredited distance learning tech programs that DON'T require a student to be employed at a veterinarian clinic over the course of the program is Purdue and PennFoster. Obviously, I'm already a student of Purdue so I know the way the system works, I have contacts in the departments there, and it is in an area that if I ever needed to be on campus for any reason, it is my home town. BUT, it is effing expensive. Almost $350 per credit hour...which means my RVT title will cost me $24,500. Ouch.

I don't know much of anything about PennFoster. A current coworker is enrolled with them and going through the program and she didn't have anything bad to say about it. She also said it was cheap (compared to Purdue), all of the books were included, the classes fit into her schedule very well and weren't super challenging, and taking the exams wasn't that big of an issue. I do know you aren't required to work for a vet save for two 225 hour practicums at the end of semesters 2 and 4. (And, at the very worst, I could just come back home, live with my parents, and do my practicums at the clinic I'm currently working for.) And each semester is only going to cost me around $1,200. I like the sound of $5,000 for a degree more so than $24,000 for a degree...especially when I (well, my dad, anyways) have already spent close to $50,000 for my BS.
However, they seem really... gimmicky? I don't know. Something about their website seems very off putting to me.

So....thoughts? Anyone been there, done that?
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:28 PM
stardogs stardogs is online now
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A friend of mine is in a similar situation and she just enrolled in San Juan College's online RVT program. You can do 18 credit hours sans vet clinic which she says is the most generous of the online programs out there.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:43 PM
PawsibleDogs PawsibleDogs is offline
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As the friend Erin mentioned I figured I'd reply a bit further. I looked at the online programs and went with the program that best fit my situation (no current clinic but I'm looking and have one I can volunteer at for the required hours if needed) and had the best reviews. I'm in a situation where I need to have student loans as an option, which ruled out Purdue's program (iirc you must be at least half time for student loan eligibility, so 6+ credit hours) -- Purdue's program is a fairly fixed pace and many semesters are below 6 credit hours.

I went with San Juan College because I can do 16 credit hours before I must be working with a clinic to proceed, have flexibility in scheduling, and it's not so expensive. So far they've been incredibly helpful and nice, and the program has a 97% pass rate on the VTNE.

I won't comment on PennFoster specifically other than to say that you can find a lot of information on how people felt about the program via Google. Also I wouldn't necessarily take the courses being easy as a good thing -- to be a RVT you have to pass the national exam (or in some states, the state exam) -- simply graduating isn't sufficient. A harder program may (or may not) better prepare you for the exam.

You may run into problems with clinic access delaying any program, but my best advice is to contact advisors for the programs you're interested in and ask. I know at SJC I have several classmates stationed outside of the US (all in classes not requiring clinic help yet).

If I can be of any help, let me know -- and good luck!
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:04 PM
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AHHHHH OFF TOPIC BUT YOU PROBABLY KNOW DR FERNANDEZ IF YOU'RE COLLEGE OF AG!!!!


Obligatory lowercase. He came from Penn state, where I graduated from
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:22 PM
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Have you looked into Penn Foster's program?
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