Joliet Junior College veterinary medical technology graduates topped the state and national averages with a 100 percent pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) in 2014, making JJC’s program one of the most successful in the country.
According to Scott Keller, veterinarian and chair of JJC’s veterinary medical technology department, the national 3-year pass rate is only near 70 percent.
Of the five veterinary medical technology programs offered in the state of Illinois, JJC’s 3-year pass rate is among the highest at 96 percent. The 100 percent pass rate in 2014 represents all 28 graduates of the program for that year; the 3-year 96 percent pass rate includes 120 graduates who took the exam between 2012 and 2014.
Students who graduated in 2015 have the option to take the VTNE from July 15 to Aug. 15.
After passing the VTNE, which is administered by the Department of Professional Regulation, students receive their license and become certified veterinary technicians (CVTs).
Keller said just like JJC’s program, the four-hour licensure exam is challenging, but that doesn’t change the department’s expectations for students and graduates.
“Our faculty and staff expect the students to pass the boards, and with every class that is offered here, everything is directed toward becoming the best vet tech you can be,” Keller said. “Another reason I think our students are successful is because we have such a nice, close-knit group here. We’re all a family and the students get to know us as instructors and we get to know them pretty well.”
Keller, who is also the president of the Association of Veterinary Technician Educators (AVTE), an organization that represents both the U.S. and Canada, said vet tech positions have been on the rise since 2008, and were deemed one of the most recession-proof jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary technician careers are expected to grow by 30 percent by 2020. The Bureau estimates that the median pay for vet techs in 2012 was $30,290.
The first year of being a vet tech student at JJC includes coursework and labs. The second year, students are required to work 320 to 400 total hours at an externship in addition to labs and coursework. According to Keller, more than 95 percent of externship employers have said they would hire the JJC student that worked for them after graduation.
For more information about studying veterinary medical technology at JJC, visit www.jjc.edu/vet-tech.