Ever since I was very young, I have always been interested in animals and medicine. For a long time I did not know how I would incorporate the two or what I would end up with as a career. As I got older I thought I would like to be a veterinarian. However, I was a late bloomer and did not attend college until I was an adult. This created a time element, but I was determined to have a career that included both animals and medicine.
One day while in a veterinarian’s office I noticed a young woman wearing scrubs. She was speaking with clients, dispensing medicine, and helping the veterinarian. I asked her “What are you? And how do I become what you are?” She explained to me that she had an Associate in Applied Science (2 year) degree, which allowed her to practice as a veterinary technician. I immediately enrolled in the program. At this point, I still was not sure exactly where I would end up, but I was off to a great start. I was not interested in working at a shelter, or in a veterinarian’s office, but continuing my education was very important to me. Perhaps even going to vet school was still an option.
Then I took my first Laboratory Animal Science class. I was hooked. I knew that this was the profession in which I would work and excel for the duration of my career. Shortly after graduating I got my first job as a laboratory animal technician. In the fifteen years that have passed since, I have attained many more accomplishments. I received my Bachelor of Science (4 year) degree, became certified and registered at the highest level (Laboratory Animal Technologist) by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, and became a supervisor in a biomedical research facility. In addition I have published articles, presented posters, attended and participated in many continuing education seminars and taught students that do internships at my facility. I have also participated in several science fairs promoting careers in Laboratory Animal Science.
I love the profession I have chosen. I have learned a great deal, and continue to learn more daily. I feel I am contributing to the research community and ultimately longer, healthier lives for both people and animals by ensuring the best possible care of the animals I am responsible for.
My advice to you is to always be open-minded. You can make a difference. We need quality, caring people in the field of Laboratory Animal Science. So if you want to work with animals and have an extremely rewarding career, please consider becoming a Laboratory Animal Science professional. This is not just what I do; it is who I am.