Students Complete Training at CTTC for Veterinary Assistants

Thanks to a new workforce development course at Garrett College, some local residents are moving toward their long-time goals of working in the field of animal heath. The first students in the new Garrett College Veterinary Assistant Training Program recently completed their coursework and are preparing to take the next step in their careers. Offered through the Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) division, this education opportunity was offered at the Career Technology Training Center (CTTC) in Accident.

Launching a new Garrett College workforce development program involves many steps with lots of groundwork to be laid. There’s the selection of a field of study that will mesh with local workforce needs; the mapping out of the curriculum to be offered; and the hiring of the right instructor for the program. Getting the word out about the new learning opportunity is next on the agenda along with recruiting the students and getting them enrolled. According to Carol Mowbray Brooks, program coordinator for CEWD at Garrett College, even with all the planning and organization, sometimes the challenges of developing and introducing a new program don’t end with the beginning of the first session.

Mowbray Brooks who coordinates programming at the CTTC hammered out the details for the new Veterinary Assistant Training Program. She spoke about some of the unforeseen obstacles encountered and overcome on the road to graduating the first students from the program.

“We started with seven students in the first Veterinary Assistant Training Program class. Once we were underway, for various reasons, four were unable to continue. While we didn’t have significant snow in Garrett County this winter, almost every snow closing fell on a day the Veterinary Assistant class was scheduled. Then the original instructor had a serious accident and was unable to continue teaching,” Mowbray Brooks explained.

Immediately the wheels were set in motion to rectify the situation by finding another instructor. Mowbray Brooks began the outreach process of networking which is a very effective tool in Garrett County. Quickly word reached Mercedes Pellet, Director of Hart for Animals, who told local Hart veterinarian Dr. Linda Blakeley about the college’s need for a replacement instructor for the Veterinary Assistant Training Program.

“Linda certainly didn’t need the extra work with her busy schedule; however, she agreed to jump in with both feet to make sure our students were able to complete the training. Her enthusiasm and experience will certainly leave a lasting impression with everyone. She made it possible for us to support these three students determined to complete the course,” Mowbray Brooks explained.

And a determined group they were. Jenny Beitzel completed the training while working more than full time. “Her love for animals was evident in every class,” Mowbray Brooks said, adding that Beitzel was especially pleased to find out that while she hadn’t been a student for some time, she still had the ability to learn and achieve her goal to prepare for a job working with animals.

Kim Trickett said she had had the desire to work in the animal health care field since attending high school in Garrett County. Instead of following her heart, she said, she earned a bachelor’ and master’s degree in a different field and moved to another state. When she returned to Garrett County, Trickett said she made up her mind to do what she had always wanted to do – work with animals. “Kim’s successes in the training program strengthened her resolve to continue to study to become a Certified Veterinary Technician. We won’t be surprised to hear that she eventually becomes a Veterinarian,” Mowbray Brooks noted.

Liz Gibbons started the training program with the goal of obtaining an entry level position working in a veterinary clinic. Serving as a volunteer at the Garrett County Animal Shelter in Oakland enabled her to immediately apply what she was learning in class and prepare for employment. “Prior to completing the training program, Liz was able to obtain a part-time position as an Animal Control Officer,” Mowbray Brooks said.

Future Veterinary Assistant Training Programs are currently being scheduled. More information is available online at or by calling Carol Mowbray Brooks at 301-387-3770.

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