Your May 31 story on the need for more veterinary technicians in Maine raised some important points (“With Maine’s growing number of new farms, do we need more vet techs?”).

The University of Maine at Augusta has by far the largest and longest-serving vet tech program in the state. Most of the students find positions within a few months of graduation.

Our students have expressed strong support for UMA’s transition of the program from a three-year associate degree program to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. The addition of one year will allow students to take courses that provide them with specialized skills, such as a veterinary practice management concentration.

In some cases, this extra year of courses and specialization will translate to better salaries, though we have found that our vet tech students want to work in the field and care for animals. This will not change what veterinarians are willing to offer.

We are thankful to the many vets and community members in the state who have worked closely with UMA to develop this new bachelor’s program. We strongly believe it’s a positive step for our students, for veterinary practices and for several organizations around the state who are looking to fill important and well-paid positions with bachelor degree-trained veterinary technology graduates.

Anne Hayes-Grillo

interim coordinator, Veterinary Technology Program, and lecturer in biology

UMA-Bangor campus