Senior makes school history with certificate in animal care

Published 12:22 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022

VIDOR — Elisabeth Jones made Vidor High School history by becoming the first student to complete the Certified Veterinarian Assistant Certification.

To obtain this certification, the senior completed 120 hours of educational instruction in the classroom, 500 hours of supervision from a Licensed Veterinarian or License Vet Technician, paid $135 for the certification exam and passed the 100-question certification exam.

“About four years ago, VHS began offering the veterinarian medical application class,” said Brandy Whisenant, veterinarian technician agriculture teacher. “We use an online program called Animal Care Technologies for the coursework, which allows the students to work on at any time.”

Vidor High School senior Elisabeth Jones works with various animals at Beaumont Animal Care. (Courtesy photo)

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Once the units are completed in the online course, the student achieves 200 out of 500 hours and then 300 hours outside of school under the supervision of a licensed vet tech.

“I completed my outside hours at my job working for Beaumont Animal Care,” Jones said. “My boss, Rachel Barron, is a certified veterinarian technician. She was having me do vet practices. If a dog was coughing, she would ask me ‘What do you think this dog needs,’ and I would say that I think it would need Doxycycline for kennel cough, and she would conduct her expertise on the dog and agree or disagree with my diagnosis.”

Apart from the hours, Jones had a checklist to complete before taking her exam.

“There were things like horse-training and using catheters,” she said. “These were things that I could not accomplish by just working at the kennel.”

Jones was determined to complete her list and used time-management to accomplish her goal.

“Mondays and Tuesdays are my days off from the kennel,” she said. “So, after I get out of school, I would drive to Delta Equine Center (an animal hospital in Calcasieu Parish) to complete my checklist. I worked with a variety of veterinarians, and the first three months that I was there, I worked on horses. I knew nothing about horses until I worked with Dr. Appleton and Dr. Findley (who is the owner of the hospital and the leading surgeon.)”

Elisabeth Jones was the first Vidor High student to earn the Certified Veterinarian Assistant Certification. (Courtesy photo)

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

“I learned the surgical procedures, prep and tools,” she said. “They taught me how to gown up a doctor, and how you cannot touch certain parts of them, or they have to repeat the 15-minute process. I also learned how to monitor anesthesia, give medicine and read gauges for needles. Then Thursday through Sunday, I would go to work at the kennel.”

Jones said when she became a freshman, she decided to complete her core classes during the first two years of high school so she could focus on her career classes her final two years.

“Because I pursued that route, I do not have to be at 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. and then go home and complete my online course work until midnight. On Saturday, I work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the kennel and then go home to complete more online course work. Then on Sundays, I work from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Sundays are closed and slower-paced so I juggle my duties and completing my online work. Afterwards, I may drive to Louisiana to complete more work if they have any for me. And on Monday I repeat the process.”

Jones said she is pursing her degree with the American Veterinarian Medical Association

“I had to think logistically,” she said. “Inflation has gone up, the housing market is crazy and I will not be able to have a job that pays bills if I need to pay for college. The AVMA has a list of online accredited schools that offer a certificate at completion. My goal is to go to work during the day and to pursue my college degree at night.”

Jones is now eligible to work on her CVA Level II, where she will have to obtain an additional 1000 hours with a licensed vet or vet tech, complete more classroom hours and take another exam.

For more information on the VHS Certificate programs visit www.vidorisd.org.

– By Sierra Kondos