THE University of Adelaide is introducing a new degree program to fill an emerging niche in the veterinary sciences sector.
The three-year Bachelor of Veterinary Technology at the University's Roseworthy campus will train "paraveterinary" health care specialists in advanced technologies used in animal health, in high-level veterinary care including the critical care of acute patients, in practical skills in caring for all kinds of animals, and in comprehensive understanding of animal diseases.
The University of Adelaide's Vet School will be only the third in the country to offer a Veterinary Technology degree.
The new program will have a strong practical component with more than 500 hours of clinical experience over the three years, including 150 hours of external workplace experience.
"Veterinary practices, particularly to date those in the eastern states of Australia and overseas, are increasingly recognising the productivity benefits to their practice by employing veterinary technologists," says Wayne Hein, Head of the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences and Dean of Roseworthy campus.
"Veterinary technologists are highly trained and skilled specialists that can support registered veterinarians in areas like monitoring anaesthesia, diagnostic imaging, performance monitoring and critical care after complex surgical procedures.
"In a veterinary practice, for example, their role would sit between the registered veterinarian and the veterinary nurse.
"Our veterinary technologists will be able to enter the industry with a high level of responsibility in support of veterinarians, well-trained in the advanced technologies which are becoming an integral part of the veterinary industry and commanding a higher level of skills and knowledge than that provided in veterinary nursing qualifications."
Animal technology has been included as a "top priority industry and occupation skill" by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee in their 2018 Skills Forecast. The animal technology workforce is projected to increase by 9 per cent by 2023.
"We expect the program will appeal particularly to people with strong veterinary interests and the capacity to study a science-based university degree but who are unable to embark on the longer and more competitive veterinary degree," Professor Hein said.
"Students will study in a real-world setting alongside our veterinary and animal sciences students, with exposure to a wide range of animals and access to our world-class specialist facilities including our Companion Animal Health Centre and our Equine Health and Performance Centre."
The program, which starts in semester one 2020, is also expected to lead to roles in allied fields including veterinary practice management, biosecurity, animal health pharmaceuticals and research.
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