A BRIGHT FUTURE — Elisabeth Jones of Vidor High plans the future of animal care education and career – Orange Leader

VIDOR – Elisabeth Jones made history at Vidor High School by becoming the first student to earn the Certified Veterinary Assistant certification.

To earn this certification, the senior has completed 120 hours of classroom instruction, 500 hours of supervision by a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician, paid $135 for the certification exam, and passed the certification exam of 100 questions.

“About four years ago, VHS started offering the Veterinary Medical Applicator course,” said Brandy Whisenant, a veterinary technician agriculture teacher. “We use an online program called Animal Care Technologies for classes, which allows students to work anytime.”

Elisabeth Jones was the first Vidor High student to earn the Certified Veterinary Assistant certification. (Courtesy picture)

Upon completion of the units in the online course, the student completes 200 out of 500 hours and then 300 hours out of school under the supervision of a licensed veterinary technician.

“I completed my off-duty hours working for Beaumont Animal Care,” Jones said. “My boss, Rachel Barron, is a certified veterinary technician. She made me do veterinary practices. If a dog was coughing, she would ask me “What do you think this dog needs”, and I would say I think he would need Doxycycline for kennel cough, and she would conduct her expertise on the dog and be agree or disagree with my diagnosis.”

Besides the hours, Jones had a checklist to complete before taking his exam.

“There were things like training horses and using catheters,” she said. “These are things I couldn’t accomplish by just working at the kennel.”

Jones was determined to complete her roster and used time management to achieve her goal.

“Mondays and Tuesdays are my days off from the kennel,” she said. “So after I got out of school, I would go to the Delta Equine Center (an animal hospital in the parish of Calcasieu) to complete my checklist. I worked with a variety of vets, and the first three months I was there I worked on horses. I didn’t know anything about horses until I worked with Dr. Appleton and Dr. Findley (who is the owner of the hospital and the main surgeon.)”

During this time, Jones was allowed to observe surgeons undergoing surgical treatment.

Elisabeth Jones is a senior at Vidor High School. (Courtesy picture)

“I learned the surgical procedures, the preparation and the tools,” she said. “They taught me how to dress a doctor and how you can’t touch certain parts of them, or they have to repeat the 15-minute process. I also learned how to monitor anesthesia, give medications, and read gauges for needles. Then, from Thursday to Sunday, I would work at the kennel.

Jones said that when she became a freshman, she decided to complete her foundation courses in the first two years of high school so she could focus on her career courses in her final two years.

“Because I went this route, I don’t have to be in school until 9 a.m.,” she said. “I get out of school at 2 p.m. and go to the kennel until 5 p.m., then I go home and finish my online lessons until midnight. On Saturdays, I work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the kennel, then go home to take more online classes. Then on Sunday, I work from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Sundays are closed and slower paced, so I juggle my tasks and finish my work online. Then I can drive to Louisiana to finish more work if they have any for me. And Monday, I repeat the process.

Jones said she is continuing her studies with the American Veterinarian Medical Association

“I had to think about the logistics,” she said. “Inflation has gone up, the housing market is crazy, and I won’t be able to get a job that pays the bills if I need to pay for college. The AVMA has a list of accredited schools online that offer a certificate upon completion My goal is to go to work during the day and continue my college education at night.

Jones is now eligible to work on her Level II CVA, where she will need to earn an additional 1,000 hours with a licensed vet or vet tech, complete more hours in the classroom and pass another exam.

For more information on VHS certificate programs, visit www.vidorisd.org.

— By Sierra Kondos

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