University of Hawaii Community Colleges
Instructional Annual Report of Program Data (ARPD)

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Review Year: College: Program:

College: Windward Community College
Program: Veterinary Assisting

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Program Mission

Program Mission

The mission of the program is to increase the quality of veterinary care in Hawaii by providing students with essential skills and knowledge that will enable them to obtain rewarding, living-wage jobs in the animal care field.

Program Description

The Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting is designed to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required to perform effectively as an assistant in a veterinarian’s office, animal shelter or animal research facility.  The two-semester program includes coursework in the physical and life sciences as well as hands-on experience through internships at local veterinary clinics.

Required Courses (31 credits)


Part I. Quantitative Indicators

Overall Program Health: Cautionary

Majors Included: VETA

Demand Indicators Program Year Demand Health Call
08-09 09-10 10-11
1 New & Replacement Positions (State) 0 8 5 Unhealthy
2 New & Replacement Positions (County Prorated) 0 5 4
3 Number of Majors 0 14 34
4 SSH Program Majors in Program Classes 0 106 262
5 SSH Non-Majors in Program Classes 0 319 215
6 SSH in All Program Classes 0 425 477
7 FTE Enrollment in Program Classes 0 14 16
8 Total Number of Classes Taught 0 11 13

Efficiency Indicators Program Year Efficiency Health Call
08-09 09-10 10-11
9 Average Class Size 0 17.9 16.4 Cautionary
10 Fill Rate 0% 80% 72%
11 FTE BOR Appointed Faculty 0 0 0
12 Majors to FTE BOR Appointed Faculty 0 0 0
13 Majors to Analytic FTE Faculty 0 15.9 31.2
13a Analytic FTE Faculty 0 0.9 1.1
14 Overall Program Budget Allocation $0 $58,280 $97,901
14a General Funded Budget Allocation $0 $16,300 $48,823
14b Special/Federal Budget Allocation $0 $41,980 $49,078
15 Cost per SSH $0 $137 $205
16 Number of Low-Enrolled (<10) Classes 0 1 1

Effectiveness Indicators Program Year Effectiveness Health Call
08-09 09-10 10-11
17 Successful Completion (Equivalent C or Higher) 0% 78% 79% Cautionary
18 Withdrawals (Grade = W) 0 13 6
19 Persistence (Fall to Spring) 0% 63% 70%
20 Unduplicated Degrees/Certificates Awarded 0 4 9
20a Degrees Awarded 0 0 0
20b Certificates of Achievement Awarded 0 4 9
20c Academic Subject Certificates Awarded 0 0 0
20d Other Certificates Awarded 0 0 0
21 Transfers to UH 4-yr 0 0 0
21a Transfers with credential from program 0 0 0
21b Transfers without credential from program 0 0 0

Distance Education:
Completely On-line Classes
Program Year  
08-09 09-10 10-11
22 Number of Distance Education Classes Taught 0 0 2  
23 Enrollment Distance Education Classes 0 0 18
24 Fill Rate 0% 0% 32%
25 Successful Completion (Equivalent C or Higher) 0% 0% 89%
26 Withdrawals (Grade = W) 0 0 0
27 Persistence (Fall to Spring Not Limited to Distance Education) 0% 0% 72%

Perkins IV Core Indicators
Goal Actual Met  
28 1P1 Technical Skills Attainment 90.05 0 Not Met  
29 2P1 Completion 44.50 0 Not Met
30 3P1 Student Retention or Transfer 55.50 0 Not Met
31 4P1 Student Placement 50.50 0 Not Met
32 5P1 Nontraditional Participation N/A N/A N/A
33 5P2 Nontraditional Completion N/A N/A N/A
Last Updated: August 25, 2011
Glossary | Health Call Scoring Rubric

Part II. Analysis of the Program

Program Summary:  The Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (CAVETA) is designed to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required to perform effectively as an assistant in a veterinarian’s office, animal shelter or animal research facility.  Over the 2010-2011 academic year, the CAVETA program offered 13 classes (477 SSH) and had a total of 34 majors (55% SSH).  Class fill- and completion rates were 72% and 79%, respectively, and fall-to-spring persistence was 70%.  During the past academic year, nine students (26.5% of majors) received the certificate and >70% of graduates received offers of employment.  The overall health score for the program is 4.5/6 (cautionary). Program weaknesses include low # of FTE Faculty (0) and high number of majors relative to estimators of local workforce demand (n= 4 positions).  However, based on the high employment rate of program graduates, we believe the EMSI data may underestimate the number of annual job openings.  Program strengths include sustained levels of student demand, high employment rate of program graduates, and recent allocation of funds to purchase equipment and renovate facilities.  In response to the program analysis, we plan to implement the following changes during the 2011-2012 academic year: 1) Hire 2 FTE Faculty to administer the program and teach program classes 2) continue efforts to more-accurately track program students 3) reduce duplicate offerings of low-enrolled classes and increase offerings of gatekeeper classes 4) offer tutoring or SI sessions for gatekeeper classes, 5) conduct additional surveys of workforce demand, 6) roll-out an Associate of Science Veterinary Technology, and 7) pursue AVMA accreditation.       



Table 1. Calculation of demand indicator for Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting.






Health Score


Demand= Majors (34) /Vacant Positions (4)


Healthy:       1.5-4.0

Cautionary: .5-1.49 or 4.1-5.0

Unhealthy:  <.5 or > 5


Unhealthy (0)



  1. Student Demand & Enrollment inCAVETA Classes:  Based on the data, student demand for the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (CAVETA) is quite high.  Over the 2010-2011 academic year, 34 students officially declared a major in Veterinary Assisting (vs. 14 majors in 2009-2010), resulting in 262 Student Semester Hours (SSH) taken by majors (up 147% from 2009-2010) and 215 SSH taken by non-majors.  In part, we believe this increase may reflect our efforts to encourage students who intend on completing the program to formally declare themselves as Vet Assisting majors. Despite these efforts, we believe the number of majors may still underestimate the actual number of students who intend on completing the program.  Surveys conducted in entry-level classes (Fall, 2009 - Fall, 2011) indicate that between 76-85% of students enrolled in program classes intend on completing the certificate of achievement (whereas only 55% have declared a major).  Given this discrepancy, we will continue to encourage students to declare themselves early so that we may have more accurate program data.



  1. Workforce Demand for Veterinary Assistants & Technicians: According to the EMSI data, only four county prorated workforce positions became available during the 2010-2011 survey period.  If this information is correct, it suggests that there is a risk that the number of program graduates may soon outpace local workforce needs (Table 1). However, as stated in the 2009-2010 report, we believe the EMSI data presents a gross underestimate of the local workforce need for this field.  In a 2006 survey of 50 Oahu veterinary clinics, we found that the annual demand for trained technicians and assistants on Oahu alone exceeds 20+ positions per year.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also lists Veterinary Technology & Veterinary Assisting as high-growth fields, with growth in Vet Tech expected to increase 36% over the 2008-2018 projection period.  Although the BLS data do not include projected openings for Hawaii, they do estimate Hawaii employment for veterinary assistants and technicians to be 320 and 170 respectively (Table 1).  In addition, the EMSI websitelists Veterinary Technology among the top-three fastest-growing professions that require an associate degree, with Hawaii ranked 11th out of 50 states with 308 jobs in 2010 (>15% growth).  Given the current local employment statistics for veterinary assistants and technicians (490 in 2010) and projected growth of these professions (>15%), we are unclear as to why the local job openings predicted by EMSI are so low.  It is possible that the EMSI data used in this analysis may have underestimated the number of job openings because veterinary paraprofessionals (assistants and technicians) are often classified into multiple job categories (e.g., lab animal technicians, animal care technicians, kennel help, vet technicians, receptionists and office managers) and thus some job openings may have been missed by the EMSI surveys.  Based on our own student tacking data and employer surveys, we do not think that there is an immediate risk that our program will over-saturate workforce demand.  As evidence of this, seven of the nine program 2010-2011 graduates (%77) are currently employed in veterinary hospitals or other animal-care industries.  Another of the graduates has opted to postpone employment in order to attend Veterinary School to obtain her DVM degree.  The overall employment rate for program graduates is 71.4%.  In addition, 16 of our continuing students are employed or have received offers of employment as a result of their participation in the Veterinary Assistant Program.  Finally, it should be noted that a significant number of our students (5-10%) are military dependants who expect to transfer to another state within the next 2-3 years.  This emigration will further reduce the risk that the program will saturate the local veterinary workforce.

Table 2. 2010 Employment Statistics for Veterinary Assistants & Technicians in Hawaii.  Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics ( )



SOC Code


Employment %relative SE

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

Wage % relative SE

Hourly median wage

Annual median wage

Veterinary Assistants & Lab Animal Caretakers









Veterinary Technologists &Technicians















    Table 3. Calculation of Efficiency Indicators for Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting.






    Health Score

    Class Fill Rate

    Fill Rate= Enrollment/Capacity


    Healthy:       75-100%

    Cautionary:  60-74%

    Unhealthy:      <60%


    Cautionary (1)

    Majors to FTE

    =Majors (34)/#FTE BOR Appointed Faculty (0)


    Healthy:       15-35

    Cautionary:  36-60 or 7-14

    Unhealthy:    61+ or 6 or fewer


    Unhealthy (0)


    Assign each element a score and sum:

    2= Healthy

    1= Cautionary

    0= Unhealthy


    Healthy:       1.5-2

    Cautionary:  0.5-1.0

    Unhealthy:   0.00

    CAUTIONARY (0.5)



    1. Funding Equipment & Curriculum Design:  Over the past year, the CAVETA program has received $135,000 in grant funds.  This funding has resulted in the purchase of several key pieces of equipment (e.g., x-ray machine and developer) which will enable us to better teach industry mandated skills. It has also enabled us to begin design of 12 new classes (e.g., Pharmacology, Medical Terminology, Introduction to Veterinary Technology, Diagnostic Imaging, and Anesthesiology & Surgical Assisting) and develop online sections of some existing classes so that the program can eventually be taken by students on the neighbor islands.
    2. On-Campus Facilities:  Several of the CAVETA classes require the use of live animals (cats or dogs).  Until recently, WCC had no on-campus facilities for handling or examining live animals.  To address this, WCC has allocated $1.4M in CIP funds to complete construction of a 1,800 ft2 veterinary lab facility.  This facility will contain an exam/treatment room, clinical lab and pharmacy, x-ray, surgery, surgical scrub, faculty office, and animal boarding and recovery area.  Construction of the facility is anticipated to begin in Fall, 2012 with completion by Fall of 2013.  In the mean time, we have created a temporary exam and animal treatment space (600 ft2) in a vacant classroom in Hale Iolani.  This space will be used to teach nursing and clinical skills classes until the new building is completed.  We also created a veterinary x-ray facility in Imiloa 137B.  This space is currently used to teach ANSC 152- Diagnostic Imaging for Veterinary Technicians.


    1. Class Fill Rate:  On average, CAVETA classes filled to 72% capacity (down from 80% in 2010-2011) of capacity.  The reduction in fill-rate may be due to the offering of duplicate sections of several classes (e.g., BUSN 191, ANSC 142/142L, etc).  We will consider reducing the number of sections of low-enrolled courses in the 2011-2012 academic year.
    2. Majors-to-FTE-BOR Faculty:  Despite the popularity of the CAVETA program, no full-time faculty has been formally appointed to teach program classes or serve as program coordinator.  Despite health student demand (n= 34 majors) this results in an “unhealthy” health call for the above indicator. Because the program is designed to train students for employment in veterinary hospitals, the majority of core classes should be taught by  licensed veterinarians (DVM) or credentialed veterinary technicians (LVT or RVT).  At present, only six classes (ANSC 141, ANSC 151, ANSC 151L, ASNC 152, ANSC 152L and ANSC 190) are taught by DVM or LVTs (both are lecturers).  The rest are taught by faculty from other departments.  Not only does a lack of full-time qualified facultylimit the effectiveness of lecture classes, but it can also greatly affect the quality of hands-on instruction in laboratory classes.  For example, one of the most important tasks performed by veterinary assistants and technicians in the veterinary clinic is the induction and maintenance of anesthesia during surgical procedures.  Unfortunately, we have not been able to teach anesthesiology as part of our program because, by law, a veterinarian must be present if an animal is being anesthetized.  In addition, a veterinary license is required to purchase and use all medications and many veterinary supplies.  Finally, the lack of a FT Veterinarian and Veterinary Technician have, up to this point, precluded WCC from seeking accreditation from the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association)- the sole credentialing body for veterinary education programs.  Based on the above program needs, we plan to advertise two full-time tenure-track faculty positions (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) & Veterinary Technician).  We expect to advertise these positions in December, 2011 and anticipate that they will be filled by March, 2012.  The DVM faculty will serve as the program director and teach key program classes (e.g., Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Small Animal Diseases).  They will also coordinate the proposed A.S. in Veterinary Technology and pursue AVMA accreditation for the program.    The Veterinary Technician faculty member will teach classes in Clinical Lab Techniques, Small-Animal Nursing, and Diagnostic Imaging.  They will also coordinate and supervise student internships.
    3. Lack of Operational Funds:   Many of the CAVETA lab classes require the use of expensive supplies and reagents (e.g., x-ray film, exposure badges and developer, hematology and blood chemistry panels, drugs and anesthetic agents, and canine cadavers).  Supplies costs for most ANSC lab classes typically run $1200-$2500 semester.  Currently, there is no supplies budget allotted to the CAVETA program.  As a result, supplies must be purchased through grant funds or siphoned from other disciplines.  In order to ensure the sustainability of the program, we have requested allocation of annual operational funds ($17,500) to cover costs for the CAVETA classes as well as those slotted for the A.S. in Veterinary Technology.



    Table 4. Calculation of Effectiveness Indicators for the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting.






    Health Score

    Certificates vs. Majors

    =certificates (9)/majors (34)



    Healthy:       >20%

    Cautionary:  15%-20%

    Unhealthy:   <15%


    Healthy (2)

    Certificates vs. Vacant Positions

    =certificates (9)/Positions (4)


    Healthy:       .75-1.5

    Cautionary:  .25-.75 or 1.5-3.0

    Unhealthy:    <.25 or >3.0


    Cautionary (1)




    Student Persistence (Fall to Spring)


    Healthy:       75-100%

    Cautionary:    60-74%

    Unhealthy:        <60%


    Cautionary (1)


    Assign each measure a score and sum:

    2= Healthy

    1= Cautionary

    0= Unhealthy


    Healthy:            5-6

    Cautionary:      2-4

    Unhealthy:       0-1




    1. Class Completion, Persistence, and Withdrawal Rates:  Course completion rates remain high and have increased slightly over the past academic year (increasing from 78% in 2009-2010 to 79% in 2010-2011).  Fall-to-spring persistence has also increased 7% over the same period (70% in 2010-2011 vs. 63% in 2009-2010) and compares favorably to other STEM certificate programs that do not have admissions requirements.  Withdrawals have likewise decreased from 13 (2009-2010) to 6 (2010-2011). 
    2. Graduation Rates:  The number of certificates awarded (9 in 2010-2011) has also increased markedly over the previous year (vs. 4 in 2009-2010).  Overall graduation rate has also increased to 26% (healthy). 


    1. Certificates Awarded vs. Vacant Positions:Based on the ESSI data, the number of certificates awarded (9) may out-pace the number of workforce positions that become available each year (4 in 2010-2011).  As stated previously, we believe these data are in error.  As evidence of this, 77% of students who graduated in 2010-2011 have obtained employment in the veterinary industry.  The overall employment rate for program graduates is 71.4%.
    2. On-time completion: The majority of students take three semesters to complete the program.  In part, this is because many students attend classes part-time.  However, many students are forced to take remedial Math classes in order to gain entry into Math 101 (Mathematics for Veterinary Assistants), a key program course.  We plan to work with Math faculty and administrators to address the lack of student preparation in mathematics.  One possibility is to create an online primmer module so that students can review and enhance their math skills before taking the Math placement exam.  We hope this additional training will allow the majority of students to place directly into Math 101.  

    Part III. Action Plan

    Under the guidance of the Veterinary Studies Advisory Committeewe propose to institute the following changes to the CAVETA program over the next two years.

    1. Reduce offerings of low-enrolled classes.  Due to overwhelming student demand, the program initially offered multiple sections of some certificate classes (e.g., BUSN 191, ANSC 142/142L, ANSC 151/151L) which allowed entry of two student cohorts per a year.  In order to increase class fill rates, we propose to reduce duplicate offerings (particularly for low-enrolled classes) and restrict entry to one student cohort per year.
    2. Create an online math primer module.  Because of poor math skills, many of our students are forced to complete remedial math classes (e.g., Math 22, Math 24 & Math 25) before enrolling in Math 101 (Mathematics for Veterinary Assistants).  As a result, most students take three semesters to complete the certificate.  We plan to create a non-credit, online math primmer module so that students can review and enhance their math skills before taking the Math placement exam.  We hope this additional training will allow the majority of students to place directly into Math 101 and complete the certificate on time.
    3. Offer tutoring or S.I. sections for classes with low completion rates.  In order to complete the program, Veterinary Assisting Students must master several difficult topics including clinical calculations, animal physiology, and clinical pathology.  Although the overall completion rate for program classes is good (79%), we hope to increase these numbers by offering tutoring or S.I. sections for the classes with the lowest completion rates.
    4. Obtain more accurate data about workforce demand.  ESSI predictions of local workforce openings are much lower than indicated by our previous industry surveys or current job placement rate (>70%) for program graduates.  In order to address this disparity, we plan to electronically re-survey local veterinary clinics and shelters to get a better estimate of local workforce demand.
    5. Purchase remaining equipment and supplies.  Although WCC already has the majority of equipment and supplies needed, we will need to purchase additional equipment (ca. $18,000) in order to meet AVMA standards.  We plan to split these cost between Perkins funds and program start-up monies.
    6. Offer an Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology: WCC is in the process of creating an Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology.  This program builds on the success of WCC’s Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting (CAVETA) by providing additional coursework and clinical experience necessary for students to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) and obtain an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited degree.  This nationally recognized credential will enable graduates to obtain employment in veterinary clinics, animal shelters, animal quarantine facilities, and lab animal facilities throughout the US and Canada.  It will also allow them to obtain significantly higher wages (>35%) than vet assistants or workers who receive only on-the-job training.  This is the first program of its kind in the state of Hawaii.
    7. Apply for AVMA Accreditation.  Accreditation of Veterinary Technology Programs is governed by the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities(CVTEA).  In order to become accredited, WCC will be required to submit a program application and self-study reportand host a CVTEA-appointed committee for a three-day site visit.  The site visit will be used to interview program personnel and students, inspect the instructional facilities and review program curriculum. 
    8. Hire two full-time faculty members.  AVMA regulations require each program to be staffed with 1 FTE Veterinarian and 1 FTE veterinary technician.  These individuals will be responsible for teaching classes, administering the program, and maintaining compliance with AVMA and local agencies.  We anticipate that these positions will be filled by March, 2012. 
    9. Construct a veterinary instructional facility.  The AVMA requires that most live-animal classes are taught in a clinical setting that meets USDA requirements.   The facility should include: a treatment area, working surgery, x-ray & developing, animal-holding facility, & surgical scrub room.  WCC is currently designing a suitable facility to be constructed in the back of the current Natural Sciences building.  Funds for design and construction of this facility ($1.4M) have already been allocated.  The facility is expected to be completed by fall, 2013.  In the interim, animal nursing classes will be taught in existing campus classrooms (e.g., Iolani 116).
    10.  Form partnerships with local animal shelters- A total of seven classes will require the use of live animals.  Four of these (Lab Animal Nursing, Clinical Procedures for Large Animals, Clinical Internships I and II) will occur at off-campus locations.   The remaining three classes (radiology, small animal nursing, anesthesiology) will require occasional on-campus (or VCA clinic) use of live animals.  These animals would be picked up from the shelter in the morning and returned in the evening after lab.  This should be a win-win situation for both the student and the animal.  The students will receive vital hands-on experience under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and the animal will receive free medical care (e.g., physical exam, vaccinations, and parasite screen).

    Existing Infrastructure and Support:

    WCC already has much of the infrastructure and support necessary to offer a Veterinary Technology degree.  These include:

    Relationship to WCC Mission and Strategic Plan  

    The proposed program will fulfill the following goals outlined in the WCC mission statement and Strategic Plan (Action Outcomes listed in parentheses):

    Part IV. Resource Implications

    In order to accomplish the above action plan, the following resources will be needed:

    Table 5. Resources required to institute action items for Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting and Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology.



    Start-Up Costs

    Annual Costs

    Veterinary Teaching Facility



    1 FTE Veterinarian



    1 FTE Veterinary Technician



    Lecturer Funds



    AVMA Required Equipment



    Supplies/ Operating Funds



    Accreditation Application



    Accreditation Site Visit



    Annual Accreditation Renewal



    IACUC Inspection Fees






    The two faculty positions requested have already been allotted by Chancellor Dykstra through reallocation of vacant positions. Funding for the new veterinary facility has likewise been secured through CIP funds.  A request for operating funds has been submitted to WCC’s Planning and Budget Committee.  We expect to cover the remaining equipment needs through grant funds (Perkins and C3T). 

    Program Student Learning Outcomes

    Program SLOs:

    Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to: