The University of Missouri Board of Curators recently approved the College of Veterinary Medicine’s proposal to offer a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology. The online curriculum is a degree completion program for veterinary technicians who have already earned an associate’s degree.
“This is geared toward nontraditional students who are working full time in the profession,” said Cindy Cravens, DVM, director of the fledgling program. “It is all online and asynchronous, so students can work the courses into their schedules.”
Pending approval from the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the first-of-its-kind program to be offered by a college of veterinary medicine, will launch this fall.
“We have an established master’s program in biomedical sciences. This program bridges the gap between an associate’s degree and the master’s program,” Cravens said.
Research has shown that earning a bachelor’s degree can lead to increased salaries for veterinary technicians, as well as opportunities for leadership positions within their current place of employment, Cravens noted. Technicians working at the MU Veterinary Health Center can qualify for tuition assistance as they work to earn their bachelor’s degree.
“A bachelor’s degree also opens new doors if they move into a different career path, such as industry positions in animal health,” she said.
Most courses will be taught by MU CVM faculty and staff with some adjunct instructors. Much of the coursework already exists through the CVM’s established online learning opportunities. “We’re hoping as the program grows that we can expand the electives we offer,” Cravens said.
The BSVT program will accept technicians who have earned their associate’s degree through American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited Associate of Applied Science programs.
Cravens was hired about 18 months ago to get the MU BSVT program off the ground. The launch of the program was made possible through a gift from CVM alumnus James Nave, DVM ’68. With the approval of the state, it will begin at the same time as a new collaborative program with Moberly Area Community College. The MACC program allows prospective veterinary technicians to earn an associate’s degree in veterinary technology. The five-semester program will allow students to undertake didactic studies though at MACC and clinical training at the VHC.
“This will give their graduates more hands-on training, helping them be job ready,” Cravens said.