Minuteman launches animal science program

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Veterinary jobs to grow 16% nationally by 2029

Minuteman High School has added animal science to its list of career technical-education (CTE) majors for the 2021-22 school year – addressing the needs of the veterinary industry that is growing rapidly nationwide.

With the addition of the Animal Science program, Minuteman now hosts a total of 19 CTE majors for students in grades 9-12. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education approved Minuteman’s Animal Science program for Chapter 74 career/vocational technical education status in June.

Ninth-grade students from Minuteman High School who are interested in enrolling in the new Animal Science program recently visited BluePearl Speciality and Emergency Pet Hospital in Waltham. BluePearl is an industry advisor for the new Minuteman program.Ninth-grade students from Minuteman High School who are interested in enrolling in the new animal science program recently visited BluePearl Speciality and Emergency Pet Hospital in Waltham. BluePearl is an industry adviser for the new Minuteman program.

“Many young people are passionate about animal welfare, and there is a clear need for skilled professionals in this growing field,” said Edward A. Bouquillon, superintendent-director of Minuteman, in Sept. 30 news release. “Minuteman is fortunate to have several respected industry partners working closely with us to provide real-world, hands-on opportunities for students as we grow the Animal Science program.”

A student-operated veterinary clinic, which would be open to the public, is being planned for the Minuteman campus within the next few years as part of the new program.

The addition of the animal science career major comes amid an increased demand for skilled workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 16 percent by 2029, which is much faster than the 4-percent growth rate for all occupations.

About 20 percent of all U.S. households acquired a dog or a cat during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“There is certainly job security, but it’s also a very rewarding field,” said Laura Champagne, a lead surgery and anesthesia veterinary technician at BluePearl Sepcialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Waltham, who is volunteering as an advisor for Minuteman. “You get involved in the profession because you care about animals, and you like the science and the medicine of it. Additionally, there are a variety of jobs you can get into.”

Minuteman students receive industry-recognized credentials that allow them to obtain entry-level jobs upon high school graduation, or to continue their education to pursue technical or professional careers.

Examples of entry-level animal science careers include veterinary assistant, animal lab assistant, and farm assistant; technical careers requiring advanced certifications or an associate’s degree include certified veterinary technician, animal lab technician, shelter director, zookeeper, or farmer; and professional careers requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher include zoologist, veterinarian, animal welfare lawyer, veterinarian technician specialist, animal educational roles, and more.

The animal science program is beginning with this year’s ninth grade class and will increase by one grade level each year.

Sasha Morency, the Animal Science instructor, said there are many different career paths students can take.

“If you’re studying animal science in high school, you have a unique opportunity to explore those career paths before going to college or getting a job, which saves you a lot of expense,” Morency said. “However, the beautiful thing is we all have the same goal in mind – we all love and appreciate animals. It’s a very rewarding field. You do a lot of hard work, but there is nothing better than having your patient reward you with a lick on the face. They have their own way of saying thank you when they need your help.”

Several representatives animal science-related or workforce development organizations are serving on Minuteman’s Animal Science Advisory Board. Partner organizations include BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, Zoo New England, the UMass Amherst/Mt. Ida College Veterinary Technology Program, Hingham Animal Clinic, Education Alliance, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School, and the MassHire Workforce Development Boards.

Sept. 26, 2021: Minuteman auto students repair car provided to veteran

This news announcement was published Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

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