A-B Tech Department Chair Paige Jimeson Instills a Legacy of Giving Back in Veterinary Medical Technician Students

Published on the Carolina Spark Website - July 3, 2023

Chair of the Veterinary Medical Technology Department at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Paige Jimeson always loved animals and wanted to go into the veterinary field. Originally from Marion, North Carolina, Paige got her first job at a veterinary hospital when she was fifteen. Her dog was sick, and her family couldn’t afford her care, so she began working at the local veterinary hospital to help finance her recovery.

In 2009, Paige graduated from the A-B Tech Vet Tech Program and earned her licensure as a veterinary technician. The year after she graduated, Paige accepted a position as an instructor at her alma mater. Twelve years later, she took over the position of department chair after her mentor Dr. Lori Tapp passed away. “For me, career-wise, it’s a huge accomplishment and important to me because it’s her legacy that I’m carrying on,” Paige explains. “To show the community what an amazing Vet Tech program we have, in her honor, drives my passion.”

Paige points out that many people think of a veterinary technician as the person who cuddles with their pet while the veterinarian does the medical workup when in reality, they are highly skilled medical professionals and provide the majority of the care involved in healing the animal. They are also present for end-of-life care. “As a career, it’s both challenging from a medical standpoint, but also emotionally,” she says. “I feel like, as a veterinary technician, the role in patient care is to be their advocate.”

A-B Tech’s two-year accredited Vet Tech graduates enter the workforce with elite certifications, including Fear-Free, RECOVER Veterinary CPR, and even Beef Quality Assurance. “They are making a difference in our community,” Paige says of the students. “We’re sending out licensed professionals that are advocating for animals not just locally, but all over the U.S.”

A-B Tech’s curriculum includes fieldwork with local farmers in Buncombe and Haywood counties to ensure their livestock are healthy. According to Paige, the sheer amount of animals that their students get to see is unheard of in the average veterinary program. “Between January and May of this year, our students cared for 107 small shelter animals, 60 horses, about 100 sheep and goats, around 40 cattle, and a herd of 20 llamas,” she says.

In 2010, the A-B Tech program partnered with the Asheville Humane Society and the Buncombe County Animal Shelter to open a new clinical facility complete with a treatment area, surgery suite, lab, radiology suite, and classroom. Located next to the Humane Society and in the same building as the animal shelter, the facility is committed to addressing all medical needs of the rescue animals under their care so they are ready to be adopted out. “We are running a small veterinary hospital for the shelter,” Paige explains. “The most rewarding part of my job is I get to help our community. We’re helping the animal shelter, farmers, and the Asheville Humane Society. We’re graduating students that are renowned in the community and have job offers before they’re ever even finished with school.”

Now, at only 36 years old, Paige is gratified by her professional accomplishments, and happy her job gives her time to focus on her family. “I have a job that I’m extremely passionate about, that I find rewarding,” she says. She takes pride in the fact that A-B Tech’s program instills professionalism and integrity in their students by teaching them through experience and inspiring them to make a difference in animals’ lives. “That’s where my focus is: maintaining the excellence of the program and getting to live life a little bit. I have achieved early, but the sky’s the limit. I never knew I would be here.”

Seats are now available for Fall 2023. For more information, visit their website: Veterinary Medical Technology A.A.S.

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