The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a partnership today to make veterinary education more accessible for people who don’t currently have a veterinary degree.
The initiative, dubbed Veterinary Education in America, will help students and their families navigate veterinary careers by offering students up-to-date information and resources on veterinary health care, veterinary science, and the careers of veterinarians.
“This is a groundbreaking partnership, as it will give people with an undergraduate veterinary degree a new avenue to begin their careers,” said Dr. David G. Wooten, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), which sponsored the project.
“We are grateful to the USDA and NIH for taking the time to provide the information and support that will enable the next generation of veterinives to become veterinary professionals.”
The project is part of the USDA’s Animal Care Education (ACE) Initiative, which began in 2013 with the goal of expanding veterinary education to all vets.
The ACE program is administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and includes education programs for teachers, health care professionals, and other professionals.
This is the first time the two agencies have worked together on this endeavor.
Vet students can access the information through a free online course that they can enroll in via the USDA website or at a participating veterinary health center.
The course will also be available in print through the National Veterinary Education Center (NTEC).
The course covers topics including basic veterinary science; training, certification, and licensing; health care and nutrition; health and safety; and other topics.
Students will also have the opportunity to receive information and training from their local veterinarians via the AVMA’s Veterinary Health Care Training Program.
The project will also help provide information and referrals to schools and other veterinarians interested in participating in the ACE Initiative.
According to the NIFA, more than 10 million Americans will become veterinarians by 2020.
The USDA is committed to increasing the supply of veterinary education in order to meet the growing demand.
“This is an exciting opportunity to give young people the information, tools, and training they need to become veterinaries and help them become well-rounded veterinarians,” said Gary W. Shulman, assistant administrator for education at NIFA.
“Vet graduates will help us keep up with our mission to expand veterinary education for all Americans.”