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    Welcome to YCCPCS' Certified Veterinary Assisting program, where a love for animals and a genuine desire to keep them healthy are combined in a series of hands-on courses geared towards preparing students to become assistant veterinary nurses. My name is Mrs. Sparks and I will be your instructor, your parent away from home, that annoying little voice in your head that reminds you to do the stuff you really don’t want to do, and most of all, your advocate for this school year. I am a huge fan of anything life science related, my background ranges from work as a Registered Veterinary Technician in an animal shelter to brown bear research on Kodiak Island, Alaska. After 20 + years of practical experience, I decided to enter graduate school to pursue a teaching degree so I could share my love of science with a new generation of learners.

    The term veterinary assistant typically refers to a person who assists in the medical care of animals but is not a credentialed veterinary technician, laboratory animal technician, or veterinarian. Training can be obtained on the job or through a comprehensive program offered by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) or by the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). The roles and responsibilities of the veterinary assistant emphasize providing support to the veterinary team in any capacity deemed necessary. On any given day, for example, the veterinary assistant may be asked to exercise patients, provide restraint, assist with routine clinical laboratory procedures, maintain hospital cleanliness, assist with radiographs, draw blood, vaccinate, and even assist with client education.

    YCCPCS' program is affiliated with Animal Care Technologies or ACT (approved by the CVMA) and consists of three components: the online 12-unit course augmented by direct instruction; hands-on technical skills; and finally, clinical practice in a veterinary facility.  Broken down into a three-year program, students will first take Introduction to Vet Assisting - a year-long, weekly 72-minute class addressing entry level topics in veterinary medicine.  In year two of the program, students will take Vet Assisting Concentrator class, which is a year-long program taking place twice weekly for 117 minutes each day.  Here students will delve more deeply into topics pertaining to the care of dogs and cats.  At this point, students will begin hands-on work with grooming and simple well-check appointments. Finally, in year three, students will take Vet Assisting Capstone, a twice-weekly, 117 minute class focusing specifically on appointments we see here at our school clinic. 

    Melanie Sparks MA, RVT