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I'm a freshman in highschool. I've wanted to become a vet for as long as I could remember.

Though my local Vo-Tech I can become a CNA over the course of 3 years and everything besides my uniform will be paid for by the school. I think this would be a good way to get some medical experience, and I'd be a CNA so I could get a good job during college.

Does anyone think I should do this? Opinions would be appreciated.
 

sheltermed

5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2013
2,512
2,557
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I'm a freshman in highschool. I've wanted to become a vet for as long as I could remember.

Though my local Vo-Tech I can become a CNA over the course of 3 years and everything besides my uniform will be paid for by the school. I think this would be a good way to get some medical experience, and I'd be a CNA so I could get a good job during college.

Does anyone think I should do this? Opinions would be appreciated.
It would certainly be a unique experience that not every veterinary applicant would possess, but I think I would recommend focusing on getting veterinary experience first and foremost. If you already had a significant amount of veterinary experience behind you, I might say this might be a good idea to give you a bit of a competitive edge, but being that you're a freshman in high school I doubt that's the case quite yet. I got my first job at an animal hospital during my freshman year of high school. Try seeing if you can find something like that first!
 

Dream7Catcher

I'm on a Horse
Mar 7, 2016
16
3
Status
Pre-Veterinary
I think it most definitely would help. It shows you are good handling bloody, high-stress, long-term goals. Plus, as sheltermed commented, it's unique. I wouldn't count it out.
 

LadyOtheFarm

Embryos and Genomes
5+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2014
4,593
4,404
Over the Rainbow
Status
Non-Student
I see a lot of factors here:

1. What are the rules in your state for becoming a CNA? In Colorado, it was something like a 2 weeks of classwork and/or a test. (I considered doing it because after my kid with a disability turned 3, as a licensed CNA, technically I could get paid for some of her home care time, and if I was going to get into vet school, every penny counts...)

2. Would enrolling in the Voc-Tech make it difficult for you to take some of the general college pre-reqs? (The Voc-Tech near me in MA *and I think* in CT, were set up for getting kids into jobs, so they didn't prep kids for college and things like the SAT were actually optional since the kids weren't really prepped for them. *My brother went for H-VAC at the VOC: No bio, no physics, none of the other "useless to him" courses.* This also meant that kids who changed their minds, we're not prepared for college and had to enroll in the community college to get required courses to apply to the State college.)

3. Are you on the fence at all about human vs. vet medicine? If you can't get accepted to vet school for whatever reason, would you fall back on nursing and be prepared to continue your education on that side of medicine?

4.A CNA is not a glory job. For most people it means filling out paperwork, helping elderly or disabled people go to the bathroom, take baths, eat... if anything medical needs wise happens, your job is to call the doctors and nurses. It is rough. There is a beauty in caring for the infirm, but a lot of difficulty too. I wouldn't get it just to say you did. It can hurt your heart to see some of what people go through, so you need to go in with a big enough heart to take it in and learn from it.

You know you and your goals best. I just wanted to give you things to think about.
 

DVMDream

DVMNightmare
10+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2009
38,634
26,100
The Dragon School
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Veterinarian
I am going to be a dissenting voice and say... no, this will not help you, provided your goal is to become a veterinarian. Yes, it will expose you some to the medical field and it will give you some great skills that will transfer into a veterinary job, but, overall, it won't make much difference in your applications to veterinary school.

If your goal is to become a veterinarian, then you really should focus on trying to get veterinary experience or even starting off with animal experience. I know that most places want you to be at least 16 years of age, however in briefly looking up information on CNA classes, you have to be at least 16 years of age to start those, maybe your school has some different offer, but that was what I found in looking things up about becoming a CNA.

If you really want to become a veterinarian, you will do more good in trying to get veterinary experience and animal experience than you would in going to become a CNA. I see that there will be no cost or at least minimal cost in becoming a CNA, which is a plus, if it were going to cost you money, I would say definitely not.

Being a CNA will get you some skills you can use in veterinary medicine... communication skills, responsibility, patience, etc, but, overall, it won't show to admissions committees that you have an interest in veterinary medicine. And they *may* even question if you started off interested in human medicine and ask why you switched to vet med. So just some things to keep in mind.

If you are at all interested in human medicine as well as veterinary medicine, then I think going the CNA route would be good to get you exposure to the human medical field, then you should seek out experiences to see what the veterinary medical field is like.
 

missdarjeeling

7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2009
516
496
Status
Veterinary Student
I'm on the no side.

Even if working as a CNA may help you in terms of experience, by choosing vo-tech over a traditional high school, you'd be missing out on more college prep coursework, which will make it harder to get into a good college and do well in the pre-req science courses you'll need to apply to veterinary school. At this point, laying the groundwork for your academic work is much more important. You'll have plenty of time to get the experience you need and you'll have opportunities for that experience to be specifically veterinary and animal experience. You won't get a chance to re-do high school and set yourself up for success in college. Doing that right now is way more important than trying to get roundabout medical experience.

Granted, in your area, things may work differently, but where I grew up, vo-tech allowed students to focus on their chosen trade, and they didn't take the kinds of classes that they'd have needed to prepare for college. They were preparing for their technical careers instead. You should only do vo-tech focusing on CNA work if you're actually interested in being a CNA.