Vet Tech Program Grad, Courtney Stewart, Landed Job as an Animal Control Officer!
Courtney Stewart has always loved animals. With a nudge from her mom, with whom she worked at her pet grooming salon, she enrolled in Carrington College’s Vet Tech program. Since graduating, Courtney has become an animal control officer in Calaveras County and works with a local rescue. Here, she tells us about her horses, her challenges, and her goals. She also shares some stories from Carrington and her work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have a 10 month-old-son. We like being outside and going for hikes and camping and just being outdoors. We like to go for walks down the street and we do a lot of riding with my horses. He’s going to start doing gymkhanas, barrel racing, and stuff, with my nieces and nephews.
Have you always been interested in the vet tech field?
Ever since I was younger, I always said I was going to be a vet. So I guess that was my first step to becoming a vet tech.
When did you decide to pursue that career or was there a person who influenced you?
My mom. I was always talking about how I was going to do it, but I kept putting it off. I told her I didn’t want to go back to school. Finally, she said, “Look, we’re going to do it.” And we called Carrington and set up the appointment, and we just went with it.
What were you doing before you enrolled at Carrington?
My mom owns a dog grooming salon, and I was working with her.
Why did you choose to attend Carrington?
I saw a lot of good reviews about it, and the statistics of success after graduating were pretty high. When I was doing my tour, they were super nice and super friendly and they made me feel more comfortable.
How do you think the Carrington program helped prepare you for your career as it is now?
I definitely think it helped with the hands-on experience. We did so much hands-on experience, it helped me learn better because I’m more of a hands-on learner. So I was grateful to have both the in-class and the lab portion of it.
What do you do now?
I’m an animal service officer. After I had my son, I took my whole pregnancy off of being a technician. I was a technician for four years and I did emergency in Stockton. Afterward, I needed a more 9:00 to 5:00 job. But day practice wasn’t my thing, so I went into animal services.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy being able to help animals as far as getting them better and getting them into a position where they can get their forever home and thrive.
Do you have any particular stories that stick out to you about an animal that you helped?
There was a little pitbull in the shelter that was there for over a hundred days and was just super shy. It was on its last life, as far as adoption goes, and I sat there and worked with her and got her out of her shell and was able to find her a home.
What do you find most challenging about your work?
Probably the animals, because they’re pretty unpredictable until you get to know them. So going into a position or into a place where they’re uncomfortable and you’re uncomfortable, it gets challenging.
Was there a moment in your career that reinforced that you made the right decision to work as a vet tech?
Pretty much every day. Every day, just helping all the animals and being able to reassure the owners and have the owners be grateful, especially working in emergency when you don’t know what the outcome is going to be. And especially when the outcome is good and surgery turns out good, then it’s definitely rewarding.
What was the hardest part about going to school?
Probably just time management, finding time to work and go to school, and doing my rotations. That was probably the hardest part. But once we figured that out, it was pretty easy.
Was there anything in particular that got you through the hard times?
My family. Just them cheering me on and saying that I can do it.
How would you describe Carrington culture?
I would say it’s very welcoming. The teachers and the staff there were really nice. They definitely helped me through the hard times too. My teacher Ms. Mejias was always there for me.
What advice would you have for students going into school now?
I would just say that even though you struggle, it gets easier. Just push past the hard parts and it’ll be good. It’s definitely rewarding at the end.
Do you have any advice for people going into the vet tech field?
I would just tell them the same thing. That every day is different, and to have a positive outlook on things because it’s a very challenging field to get into and it’s not for the money. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Just keep on going because the animals need you. Keep learning and get as much education as you can because you can always keep learning in this field.
What’s next for you?
At this point, I want to be a game warden for wildlife. That’s my end goal.