Dr. Virginia Kiefer Corrigan, pictured with her 13-year-old golden retriever, Yogi, is the new program director of Appalachian State University’s four-year, online Bachelor of Science in veterinary technology.

BOONE — Appalachian State University is accepting applications through July 1, 2022, for the first class of its new online Bachelor of Science in veterinary technology program, which begins this fall.

Students in the online program will earn a four-year degree, receiving on-site clinical training that will prepare them for meaningful employment in the growing veterinary medical profession — and lead to career advancement opportunities for those already working in the field.

The program was developed through a partnership between App State and Banfield Pet Hospital® — the leading provider of preventive veterinary care in the U.S. and part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices.

A study from Banfield found that an estimated 75 million pets in the U.S. may not have access to the veterinary care they need by 2030, with an important factor being a critical shortage of veterinary professionals. Veterinary technicians are in high demand in veterinary clinics as well as in other animal health-related industries across the country: Bureau of Labor Statistics data project a 15% increase in the number of credentialed veterinary technician positions by the end of the decade, and a new study from Mars Veterinary Health estimates it would take more than 30 years of graduates to meet the 10-year need for credentialed veterinary technicians.

As part of the partnership, Banfield made a multimillion-dollar commitment toward the development of the new four-year online vet tech degree program at App State.

“We are proud to engage in such a forward-thinking partnership to address the market demand for skilled veterinary professionals, especially in rural areas,” App State Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “Many thanks to Banfield for their ongoing support of this visionary academic program, which will advance the profession and elevate the role of licensed veterinary technicians. We are excited to welcome our first class of students in fall 2022!”

The App State Online program will combine a Bachelor of Science degree with preparation for credentialed veterinary technician licensure in North Carolina. An interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff and external collaborators has worked to develop a curriculum — based on the American Veterinary Medical Association Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities standards — that will become a model for developing veterinary professional talent.

Core training in veterinary technology will include 20 credit hours in foundational subject areas, including science, math and communication skills; approximately 50 hours of coursework in domain-specific areas; and 240 hours of practical experience obtained through clinical externships in the field.

Applicants are invited to start as a first-year student or transfer in previous credits from another program.

Dr. Virginia Corrigan has been appointed as director of App State’s vet tech program. Corrigan brings more than a decade of experience as a companion animal veterinarian and educator focusing clinically on rehabilitation, hospice/palliative care and pain management for dogs and cats.

Since 2016, Corrigan has been an assistant professor at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, where she completed a three-year postdoctoral residency program in advanced canine and feline practice, earning diplomate status with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2015.

Corrigan earned a Master of Public Health degree with a focus in human–animal bond studies from Virginia Tech in 2016 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in zoology with a minor in neuroscience from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

She was enrolled in one of the inaugural classes of the American Veterinary Medical Association Future Leaders program and is currently a member of the AVMA Steering Committee on Human–Animal Interactions. She has also served as a facilitator with the Veterinary Leadership Institute.

“Veterinary medicine is a phenomenal career choice for those who wish to have a significant impact on the health of animals, people and the environment,” Corrigan said. “The profession is also facing many challenges that have been amplified by the pandemic. The good news is that there are many exciting opportunities arising as the profession adapts to these challenges.”

For more information on the program or to apply, visit the App State Online vet tech program page.

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