Programs Offer Flexibility, Tuition for Employees Seeking Education

Marilyn Douglas considered schooling to become a licensed veterinary technician, but there were always too many obstacles. When a colleague told her about the educational opportunities and financial assistance sponsorships available through NVA, everything came together, allowing Marilyn to invest in her future.

A one-time laboratory animal technologist, Marilyn began working at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center (CVRC) in South Carolina in August 2020. By April 2021, Marilyn was ready to advance her career in veterinary medicine and enrolled in the veterinary technician associate degree program through Penn Foster. The online program gives busy students, like Marilyn, the flexibility to move at their own pace.

She also applied for and received tuition assistance through our Veterinary Education Sponsorship program. The sponsorships allow employees to attend school for little to no cost with a commitment to continue working at an NVA facility for one to two years upon graduation. “It’s a great deal,” she said.

But, in July, when Marilyn divorced and moved to Ohio to be closer to family, she worried her educational dreams would be derailed and she’d have to pay back the money for tuition.

Not one to give up, she started looking for a new job within the NVA Compassion-First family and accepted a position as a specialty float assistant at Care Center in Dayton. Despite the disruption, she successfully completed her first semester with a 4.0 GPA and without seeking an extension. She credits her success to her supportive teams — CVRC for helping her transfer her sponsorship and Care Center for fostering a positive learning environment.

“They ask me about school, offer to help, and help me with any concepts I might be struggling with,” she said of her Care Center team. “I feel really supported and like my co-workers care about me becoming a vet tech.”

She recalls a time she was looking at flashcards to study for an anatomy and physiology final, and one of the doctors encouraged her to quiz him.

“I love that the company is investing in me. I feel like a valued employee,” she said. “I tell people all the time, ‘I have to stay with NVA because they’re investing in my future.’”

To learn more about the opportunities available to you through Penn Foster or our Veterinary Education Sponsorship program, email our Veterinary Nursing Development team or watch this brief video featuring VND Program Director Janet McConnell.


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