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Employer Reimbursement

Why your employer should enroll you in the Shelter Medicine certificate

2015-03-02_uf-sheltermed_website_tuition-employer-reimbursementOne of the most successful ways to get management support for education is to submit a formal proposal to your direct supervisor outlining why you believe you and your organization will benefit from this type of training.

As a first step, find out if your organization has a professional development policy. If so, determine if there is a form to fill out and if there is a specified amount of funding available per employee. Next, review the certificate program website and/or contact a professor to determine what aspects of this training will help you in your daily role and will help your organization. Third, begin preparing your proposal.

Keep in mind, some shelters are willing to raise funds from private donors to sponsor advanced training for shelter veterinarians. You might also be eligible for private education loans. We recommend that you do an internet to search for “private education loans” to find out who will fund part-time graduate work.

Why earn a certificate in Shelter Medicine?

Shelter veterinarians need special knowledge and skills targeted at the unique challenges presented when caring for large numbers of homeless dogs and cats. They must be able to manage infectious diseases not usually seen in well-cared for pets. They must be able to prevent behavior problems that could keep a homeless animal from being adopted. They must also be able to improve animal welfare by conducting forensic medical examinations and performing high-volume, high-quality spay and neuter surgeries.

Few veterinarians leave veterinary school with these skills because, until recently, few veterinary schools offered training in Shelter Medicine. The University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the early pioneers in this field.

Continuing Education Credits

Each course counts for 45 contact hours of continuing education credits for veterinarians in the state of Florida. As each state has their own guidelines, you should check your state requirements. The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida can provide any required documentation to submit the courses you take for CE credits in your state. At 45 contact hours per course, the overall price of each class equals just $35/contact hour.

How to Create a Successful Proposal

  1. You can make your proposal more impactful by listing your organization’s goals and objectives and linking how they relate to the curriculum’s educational objectives. Use the learning outcomes for each class to determine what points you would like to emphasize. To find these, click on the individual courses on the curriculum page.
  2. Read through the syllabus for each class with an idea of how you can help your organization grow or improve. Find items that will help your shelter improve the health of animals, their behavior, your adoption success, your shelter costs, your efficiency, or any other ways you will learn to impact the shelter environment. For instance, reducing the outbreak of disease or diagnosing a disease before it spreads through your shelter population will reduce overall expenditures on medication and surgery and will increase the likelihood of adoptions.
  3. You’ll need to address the cost of the program, and all of the costs for the courses are included in the tuition section of the website. Remember, no travel is necessary. You can also continue to work full-time while you earn this certificate.
  4. Even if you choose to have a conversation with your manager/owner, rather than writing a formal proposal, it would be a good idea to have a list of the reasons the certificate program will enable you to perform your job at a higher level and make your shelter more successful. Going through the exercise of looking through the curriculum for details that will teach you new concepts or improve your organization.

Overcoming Objections

Many of our students have overcome objections before starting our program. Here is how to handle them:

My employer says it is too expensive and we lack the funds.
My employer would prefer me to just attend a free webinar.
I have worked in shelters for years. Why should I take this now?
My employer just wants me to attend a conference instead.
My employer only needs a spay/neuter vet.

At a Glance