CECU: Shortage of Skilled Veterinary Technicians in America

​October 7, 2016, Washington, DC – This month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 7.9 million Americans are unemployed, while at the same time 5.9 million jobs remain unfilled in America. This crisis exists because employers demand "job-ready" employees and prospective employees are simply not able to bridge the skills gap without appropriate career education and training. 
One occupation that will be particularly affected by this skills gap is veterinary technicians. Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – significantly faster than the projected 7% average job growth for all occupations. Nearly 18,000 new veterinary technicians will be needed to fill these jobs.

Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture have expressed concern over the looming shortage: “Forty percent of our top-level leadership can retire now,” Jack Shere, Veterinary Services Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently said at the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health (SACAH) meeting in Washington, D.C. If this crisis is not addressed soon, it could have huge impacts on the American public.

Adequately training veterinary students will be crucial to ensuring new technicians are prepared to enter the field as baby boomers retire, otherwise a crippling shortage of skilled workers will exist. But across the country, veterinary technician programs are closing their doors. According to a recent article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 30 private sector veterinary programs are in the process of shutting down. The article notes that the issues these schools are facing stem largely from a “challenging federal regulatory environment,” including the gainful employment regulation.

“Students in our sector’s Veterinary Technology programs learn the fundamentals such as diagnostic imaging, laboratory procedures, and veterinary office practices – in a practical hands-on manner. This classwork is paired with externship rotations that include various animal care environments to give students real-world experience,” said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of CECU.

“The importance of veterinary programs cannot be overstated, nor can the threat of burdensome regulations on the future existence of these programs,” added Gunderson. “It is clear the demand exists for these graduates, but out-of-touch regulations threaten to eliminate programs training students for in demand careers.”

About Shortage of Skills 
Each month CECU will profile America's "Shortage of Skills" (SoS) in one key industry. We will examine industries that are critical to America's economic advancement and explain how a well-educated and well-trained workforce can address these issues.

Previous months have looked at:

Cyber Security
Accountants And Bookkeepers
Construction And Skilled Trades
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning And Refrigeration
Beauty And Wellness
Information Technology
Automotive Repair
Health Care
Transportation, Distribution, And Logistics

About Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) 
Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) is a membership organization of accredited institutions of higher education that provide postsecondary education with a career focus. CECU's work supports thousands of campuses that educate millions of students.

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