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In our GO AFTER IT blog series, you'll meet fellow students and grads who committed themselves to chasing their dreams and proving it pays to GO AHEAD toward better opportunities–no matter the obstacles to be overcome.
Rebecca Faust loves animals. She always has. As a child she wanted to become a veterinarian, but then she got advice that changed her plan.
“A vet I volunteered with at a shelter told me, ‘If you want to sit and do paperwork, become a veterinarian,'" she recounts.
She began watching all the shelter’s staff members, taking note of what they did and how much they interacted with the shelter animals. That’s when she figured out who actually got to be hands-on with the furry, feathery, and scaly friends she loved. It was the veterinary assistants.
Rebecca realized she needed more education if she wanted to make a living working with animals. Her experience helping vets and techs as a shelter volunteer was great, but not enough to land her a paying gig. Potential employers wanted formal veterinary assisting training.
“All the clinics I spoke to were looking to hire people with a vet assistant certificate,” she says. “It’s something I heard regularly from employers.”
She was working part-time when she started researching schools. She needed something that would give her the veterinary assisting training she needed without interfering with her job schedule or the small budget it provided. When she started looking at online veterinary education, she found the perfect fit.
“I chose [the healthcare school at Ashworth College] because the cost was within my budget and the flexibility was perfect,” she says. “The program was completely affordable, and all of my materials were included. Plus, I was able to do it on my own time, at my own pace.”
She loved the program from the start, but she admits it wasn't always easy to stay focused.
“Distractions were my biggest challenge! More often than not, I would take my materials to the library or a coffee bar where I could sit without worrying about what was going on in my household.”
The very first vet clinic Rebecca applied to after graduation offered her a job, validating all her hard work and her choice to do online veterinary assisting training. The vet assistants she works with all have similar educations–a growing trend in the field–but it cost them significantly more.
“I got the same well-rounded education that some of my fellow assistants got," she explains, "except I didn't pay $30,000 for it."
Today, just three years after graduating, Rebecca works as an emergency and intensive care veterinary assistant. She hopes to continue pursuing emergency veterinary medicine and become an emergency care specialist. She also has some advice for anyone who’s considering college or career school.
First, no amount of education goes to waste. Even if you feel like you are sacrificing quite a bit, what you learn pays you back in the end.
“Of course, you’ll naturally think about what things you have to give up in order to get your education, but also remember what things you will gain. A better job might mean you don't need to work two jobs and that could turn into having more time for your family.”
Second, keep in mind that veterinary assisting is not a field for people who want big salaries. Rebecca cautions people going into the field not to spend too much money on school.
“You are not going to get rich working in this field, but if you love it and have a passion for it, it's so much more rewarding [than working just for money]. Education is important.” She adds, “Advancements in veterinary medicine mean we need educated people on our teams. We need people who want to learn and do the best for our patients, but you don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to do it.”
Rebecca’s journey goes to show that “education on your terms” is more than just flexible and affordable. It can be very worthwhile. Will it be the next step in your journey?
Follow this link to learn all about the program that trained Rebecca for her dream job: Online Veterinary Assisting Career Diploma. Or call Ashworth College Admissions at 1-800-957-5412 to ask how you can turn your passion into a career, too.