History of the Veterinary Technology Program

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Veterinary Technology onsite program began in 1981 as the Animal Health Technology Program. The onsite program is two years in length, takes place on campus in Kamloops, BC and graduates up to 24 students per year. Our students are mainly British Columbia residents but they have also come from all over Canada. We currently receive approximately 125 applications per year for the 24 available positions. The program has been very successful and its graduates consistently score in the top 10% of the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) which is written by students from over 130 Veterinary Technician training institutions in North America.

It became apparent that there was a need for a parallel program which trains Veterinary Technologists using online methods. The prospective students for this program are very interested in becoming Registered Veterinary Technologists (RVT), have the ability and educational experience to be successful in the program and are already working in a veterinary clinic or related position. The main reason that these prospective students have not applied to an on campus program before is, they are unable to relocate for two years because of many factors including family duties, work obligations and the expense of relocating. Our survey of British Columbia Veterinary Clinics indicated that the veterinary community is very supportive of an alternative education method for their employees, especially if it means that the employee can continue working while upgrading their technical skills.

With this demand for alternative VT education in mind, we began researching the establishment of the TRU Veterinary Technology Open Learning Diploma program (TRU VTEC OL program). We reviewed the following successful American Veterinary Medical Association accredited programs:

  • St. Petersburg Junior College – Florida
  • Cedar Valley College (Dallas County Community College District, Texas) – the American Animal Hospital Association sponsored program
  • Purdue University - Indiana
  • Blue Ridge Community College - Virginia

The decision was made by TRU in January of 2004 to offer the VTEC OL program beginning in January of 2005. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association currently views the VTEC OL program as part of our on campus Animal Health department. Our VTEC OL program has accreditation status. The VTEC OL program is also accredited by the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians (OAVT).

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