The University of Maine at Augusta is set to launch a new program that will give specialized training to those who wish to work with animals.

The University of Maine System has given UMA approval to begin offering a Veterinary Technology degree. The program is a four-year, bachelor’s level offering, UMA president Glenn Cummings said in a release.

The new program will formally begin in the fall of 2016, but students can enroll this summer or fall for a pre-veterinary technology track, which will help students fulfill certain pre-requisites to compete for a slot in the program beginning in the fall of 2016.

UMA has offered an associate degree in veterinary technology, but that program is being phased out, Cummings said. There will be one more class accepted in the fall of 2015.

In the only bachelor’s level program of its kind in Maine, Cummings said students in the Veterinary Technology Program will be trained in biological and animal medical research and office management as well as animal care and lab skills. The program will allow students to choose tracks in business, small business or biology.

Cummings said university officials worked closely with the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor, which conducts research using mice, to develop the program and curriculum.

“Not only will our students be prepared for a wide array of jobs in the animal care and research field,” Cummings said, “but Jackson Lab will benefit by having highly qualified UMA graduates ready to fill many important positions the lab has had historical difficulty filling.”

The Bank of Maine gave $25,000 for the program and several local veterinarians gave donations, Cummings said. Peter and Mary Thompson, of Readfield, longtime UMA supporters, established a scholarship that will yearly benefit veterinary technology students in financial need.

“We are humbled that so many organizations and community members have come forward to help us establish this exciting new bachelor’s degree program,” Cummings said.

To learn more about the Veterinary Technology Program at UMA, visit www.uma.edu/veterinarytechnology.html.


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