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Another career option

I read the June/July 2019 issue from cover to cover, as usual. This time, though, I was struck with the realization that laboratory animal science is a completely overlooked specialty for both veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals.

I read with particular interest “The Road Ahead” [Getting Technical column] but was dismayed that laboratory animal science wasn’t mentioned. The career paths are outstanding for both professionals and paraprofessionals looking to make a difference in human and animal health — and looking for exciting, challenging and rewarding work. Our field includes health care, husbandry, pathology lab, materials management, administrative, construction and design, and so much more. Our facilities are full-service hospitals with researcher clients; in fact, my facility is better equipped than most human hospitals.

I have an MS in animal behavior and am a certified manager of animal resources, but I started life as a veterinary assistant. Over the course of my career in laboratory animal science, I have climbed a career ladder with considerably more rungs than if I’d stayed in private practice (and have better benefits, too!).

As a department administrator, I am essentially a practice manager with 11 veterinarians and 140-plus staff. Check out the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science at http://bit.ly/2KPkNWX to learn more about career options.

Stacy LeBlanc is research department administrator in the department of veterinary medicine and surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.