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Home > Blog > October 2015 > Veterinary Technician Students Counting Down the Days until Classes Start

Veterinary Technician Students Counting Down the Days until Classes Start

Posted: October 2, 2015 by Elizabeth Baker

DILLON, Mont. (Oct. 2, 2015) – Students have begun enrolling in Pima Medical Institute’s new veterinary technician program, to be offered on the University of Montana Western’s campus starting in November. It is the only veterinary technician program offered within the state.

Three of the new enrollees – Jessica Shea, Bess Slicer and Sydney Greenslade – plan to make the most of the opportunity and are counting down the days until classes start.

“I cannot wait to start in November,” said Shea. “I’ve never wanted to do something so badly in my entire life. My dream job is to work at Highlands Veterinary Hospital in Butte, where I take my own dogs.”

Jessica Shea poses with her four blue heeler dogs Jessica Shea with her dogs.

Shea started out in cosmetology, but wasn’t happy with the profession, she said. While living in Oregon, she got a job at an animal hospital as a receptionist and loved it. Eventually her husband received a job offer in Montana, so they moved, and that’s when she discovered Pima Medical Institute’s new veterinary technician program.

“Since I was a kid I wanted to be a vet, but I didn’t think I was smart enough,” she said. “Now I’m going to get closer to that dream than I ever imagined. I’m so ready for school.”

Slicer is still finishing up her degree at Montana Western. She’ll graduate this fall and start at Pima Medical in the spring. She moved to Montana from Jefferson, New York, to study in the natural horsemanship program and feels the transition to the vet tech program will be a smooth one.

Bess Slicer cleans an elephant's teeth Bess Slicer cleans an elephant's teeth.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation. I was thinking about vet school for a doctorate, but I looked into it and it seemed like too much. I don’t feel like I’m ready for that yet. When Pima Medical came to talk to us, I thought it sounded like the right fit,” Slicer said.

She plans to work with large animals after she graduates, focusing on horses and cows. While studying at Montana Western, Slicer completed an internship in South Africa working with elephants.

“I grew up on a dairy farm, so I was around animals my whole life. I’m very passionate about animals,” she said.

Like Shea and Slicer, Sydney Greenslade also loves animals and decided Pima Medical’s veterinary technician program was right for her. She will start school in November.

“My long-term goal was to get a degree in biology and go to veterinary school, but I started working at a vet hospital and decided I wanted to start sooner and be more hands-on,” she said. “I’m more of a hands-on learner than a lecture in the classroom type of student.”

Sydney Greenslade works with a cow Sydney Greenslade works with a cow.

Greenslade grew up on a ranch in Lima, Mont. After graduation she wants to work with large animals – cows in particular.

Pima Medical Institute specializes in hands-on, real-world education. Founded in 1972 in Tucson, Ariz., it focuses strictly on health care career education and has campuses across the western United States.

The new partnership with Montana Western was announced in May. Since then many have expressed interested and enrolled.

Students begin in the veterinary assistant program and then continue on in the veterinary technician program. They study animal behavior and care, surgical assisting, laboratory testing and nursing procedures. While in the program, they’ll work with Beaverhead Animal Shelter in Dillon to provide health care for animals in the shelter. They’ll also work with both large and small animals in a newly equipped facility on Montana Western’s campus. Students will have access to on-campus housing, the library, gym and meals.

Dr. Rick Scherr, co-chairman of the Montana Veterinary Medical Association’s Vet Tech Board, said there is a shortage of educated vet techs in Montana. As a vet, he often looks out of state to hire for his own practice, Big Sky Animal Medical Center in Great Falls, Mont.

This new program is very needed, he said. It will fill an employment void across the state.

To learn more about Pima Medical Institute, visit The University of Montana Western can be found online at To speak to someone about enrolling, call 1-888-442-5998.

Media Contact                           
Elizabeth Baker
Public Relations and Communications Specialist

About Pima Medical Institute
Pima Medical Institute is a private, accredited school dedicated to provide students classroom studies paired with real-world training at medical facilities. Established in 1972, Pima Medical Institute helps students become career ready, focusing exclusively on health care professions, including medical, dental, veterinary and nursing fields. Curriculum includes certificate, associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs, ranging from nursing, medical assistant and radiology technician to veterinary assistant and dental hygienist.
Pima Medical Institute operates 16 campuses as well as an online division. The medical career college has a presence in eight western states with ground locations in Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Phoenix and Mesa, Ariz.; Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo.; Seattle and Renton, Wash.; Las Vegas, N.V.; Houston and El Paso, Texas; Chula Vista, Calif.; and Dillon, Mont. For more information and a complete list of programs offered at each campus, visit or call 1-888-442-5998.

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