App State and Banfield Pet Hospital® Announce New On-line Vet Tech Program Geared toward Addressing Veterinary Scarcity

A veterinary technician interacts with a cat client. Photo courtesy of Banfield Pet Hospital®

The unique program will help meet the growing demand for pet care

From Elisabeth Wall

Appalachian State University and Banfield Pet Hospital® – the leading provider of preventive veterinary care in the United States and part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices – have announced a partnership aimed at strengthening the pipeline of licensed veterinary technicians and creating a more sustainable future for to create the veterinary profession. This is a direct response to a recent study by Banfield which found that an estimated 75 million pets in the US may not have access to the veterinary care they need by 2030. One important factor is a critical shortage of veterinarians.

As part of the partnership, Banfield has made a multi-million dollar commitment to develop a new four-year online degree for Licensed Veterinary Technicians (LVTs) at App State. This will meet market demand – especially in rural communities – for qualified veterinary professionals.

“App State excels at developing visionary academic programs that address the skill shortage in rural communities and help advance industry standards,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “This partnership with the leading pioneer in animal health care is synergistic and forward-looking. With graduation and licensing achievement rates well above the national average, our university is in a unique position to develop and deploy a signature program that will help advance the profession, strengthen the role of licensed veterinary technicians, and meet market demand for skilled ones to satisfy rural veterinary professionals. ”

Much like a health care nurse, LVTs can work with a doctor to provide services such as giving vaccinations or checking vital signs.

“As part of the Mars Veterinary Health practice family, Banfield is committed to empowering and recognizing the role of licensed veterinary technicians as critical members of the veterinary team,” said Dr. Daniel Aja, Chief Veterinary Relations and Transformation Officer at Banfield. “We are excited to partner with App State and invest in this unique program that will benefit veterinarians, pets and the wider industry as the demand for pet care continues to grow.”

App State Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Heather Norris said, “We have assembled an interdisciplinary team from the App State Faculty to develop a rigorous signature program that will be a model for developing licensed veterinary professionals and setting unprecedented industry standards.”

The App State Online Program is housed in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences and combines undergraduate knowledge with preparation for admission as a Veterinary Technician. The App State Faculty creates the curriculum, program, and courses. The first class of the program is expected to start in the fall of 2022.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that there were more than 110,000 LVT jobs in the US in 2020, and predicts an increase of nearly 20% over the next five years. Industry reports predict a gap in LVT supply of more than 50,000 by 2029. Pet Spending Continues to Rise – Data from BLS and the American Pet Products Association show that annual sales of pet products and services in the US are nearly $ 100 billion amounts. and Americans are increasing pet care spending at rates higher than household income increases.

“When veterinarians practice at the top of their license, hospitals get the best results: Dedicated customers and a unified team that delivers superior care,” said Aja. “In support of our goal – A Better World for Pets – we believe that the profession must use all veterinarians to the best of their ability to ensure pets receive the care they need.”