Copperas Cove High veterinary medicine students have 100% passing rate on certification test
By WENDY SLEDD
Special to the Leader-Press
Copperas Cove High School senior Ella Thompson knew from the time that she was five years old that she wanted to be a veterinarian.
“I told everyone I could about how I was going to help the animals,” Thompson said. “If my younger self could see me today, I’d like to think she would be proud of how hard I have already worked to become a certified veterinary assistant.”
This school year, Copperas Cove High School Animal Science students, including Thompson, earned 71 Industry Based Certifications including the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification, Elanco Veterinary Medical Applications Certification, and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association Certified Veterinary Assistant Certification. The students are taught by CCHS graduate and agriculture teacher Daniel West.
“Copperas Cove High School is very proud of our students’ hard work and accomplishments this year,” West said. “The CCHS Animal Science program plans to expand Agriculture Practicums in the 2023-2024 school year to include Livestock, Equine, Poultry, and Dog Grooming Work Based Learning Programs.”
West had 42 students earn the Elanco Fundamentals of Animal Science Certification which verifies individuals have acquired the foundational knowledge and skills to pursue a career within the animal science industry, which include Animal Scientists, Animal Breeders, Feedlot Managers, and Livestock Buyers. Additionally, the certification allows employers to identify and connect with more skilled candidates, filling gaps in the labor market.
According to the American Society of Animal Science, there are 500 job classifications within the animal science industry. The average salary is slightly more than $60,000 per year according to CareerExplorer.com.
West had 27 students earn their Elanco Veterinary Medical Applications Certification which verifies the competencies needed to achieve employability within the veterinary science field and is transferable to health and animal science fields, including careers such as Veterinary Technologist and Technicians, Veterinarians, and Animal Caretakers. Employment of veterinary technologists and technicians is projected to grow 19 percent through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – significantly faster than the projected seven percent average job growth for all occupations. Nearly 18,000 new veterinary technicians will be needed to fill these jobs.
Thompson and classmate Jaydon Pisciotta both earned their Texas Veterinary Medical Association Certified Veterinary Assistant Certification scoring above 88 percent on the exam. These two students are now certified to work as veterinary assistants at any veterinary practice in Texas. Both students have already secured jobs at local clinics and plan to work as they start their academic journeys to becoming licensed veterinarians.
“The first day I walked in Crossroads Veterinary Hospital, I immediately knew I was going to work my tail off to join its team. After a year of interning, I was finally able to receive my certification and become employed part-time while still in high school,” Thompson said. “I am set to go to Texas Tech in the fall with a determination to attend its veterinary school. I know I have just begun, but I am committed to working tirelessly to not only attain but surpass the hefty goals I have set for myself.”