New Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program at Animal Humane Society

July 17, 2023
AHS veterinary technician with dog

Animal Humane Society is excited to launch our latest cohort of the Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program to train and equip anyone interested in pursuing a career in veterinary technologies in our shelters and clinics.

Right now, a nationwide shortage of veterinary technicians is impacting the number of animals that AHS can help in its shelters, as well as limiting the number of appointments available to the public for our low-cost veterinary centers.

Our goal is to help more animal lovers turn their passion for animal welfare into a career with AHS, as well as increase our capacity to help more animals and their people.

AHS is one of the first animal welfare organization in the country to create a full-time, formal training program for veterinary professionals where employees are paid while they train.

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What is a Veterinary Technician?

The veterinary care team at AHS plays a key role in our ability to prepare animals for adoption and keep even more people and their pets together.

Vet techs work alongside veterinarians to help provide animals with the medical care and attention that they need. Day-to-day tasks can include:

  • Assisting in the examination of animals
  • Taking X-rays
  • Administering medications
  • Assisting in surgical procedures
  • Performing treatment and monitoring of animals

Our veterinary staff also interacts directly with pet parents to provide education and support on their pet’s condition, counsel them on the results of any exams, and answer any questions they may have.

“As a vet tech at AHS, each day is an adventure,” Jennifer Charewicz, a current vet tech, said. “There’s a certain amount of flexibility needed in this role because the day can change quickly no matter what role you’re scheduled in for your shift.”

No two days are ever the same at AHS, but what does stay the same is the level of support our vet care team has for one another. “We all jump in to help whenever needed,” Charewicz said.

vet techs prepping a cat for surgery

The Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program at AHS

The Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program is an 8-month program that mixes classroom lessons with hands-on practice each week. The goal is to provide trainees with as much information as efficiently as possible, so program participants feel prepared to launch their career in veterinary care.

“Even though it was quick, it was well digested,” Paige Sorenson, a previous graduate of the program, said. “I learned much more in this program than in other programs that were much longer.”

As a member of a training cohort, you’ll have the opportunity to train for appointments, exams, treatments, surgery, and more, with proficiency exams midway to test your progress before moving onto more training.

“The trainers prepared a lot of content beforehand for us. The trainers were so willing and we were willing to learn,” Sorenson said.

Members of the training cohort will be paid an hourly salary and benefits while they complete the program, and upon graduation, individuals will be promoted to full-time AHS veterinary technicians with the choice of either working in our shelters or veterinary centers.

vet tech looking through microscope

Who is right for the Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program?

One of the most exciting aspects of the new career training program at AHS is that anyone with a passion for helping animals is welcome to participate — even if you have no animal care experience. 

Dave Burklund, a previous graduate of the program, says, “It’s individualized as the trainer works on the skills that you need to build.”

The Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program is a great fit if you:

  • Want to launch a new career in veterinary care that offers new challenges regularly
  • Are comfortable in a medical setting that includes blood, needles, and feces
  • Want a purpose-driven career where you can make a difference for animals in need
  • Are excited to learn, build new skills, and work hard

AHS wants to create the best experience possible for trainees in our training program and provide you with all of the support, resources, and training that you need to be successful.

“They want the best out of you,” Burklund says, “and they are going to give you as much support as possible.”

Interested in the Rachael Ray Foundation Career Program at AHS?

Check our careers page to submit an application for our next cohort. 

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