SKIDMORE, Texas — This year teens at Skidmore-Tynan High School are getting a very early and hands-on approach on what it takes to become an animal doctor.

It's a new program where students can get their veterinarian assistant certificate before they even graduate high school.

"This is my pilot year with the kids actually being out in the field, as I'd like to say," Ag Education Teacher Jolie Matthews said.

"They can get more hands on so they can find out early, so they can find out whether they like it or not," senior Britnie Briseno said.

Students have to be at least juniors and complete 500 hours of coursework before graduation.

"Whenever they become a senior, they go into the actual veterinarian clinic where they can get supervised underneath a licensed veterinarian," Matthews said.

Thanks to the new program, seniors like Briseno are already getting a head start in their career.

"I want to take care of all the animals after that, and since I've been five I've just been pretty much dead set on becoming a veterinarian," Briseno said.

Others said they will use it as a way to ease the financial burden of student loans.

"I plan to use it as a job while going to college because I want to get my PhD in animal science," junior Madison Gaona said.

Right now there are 15 young women in the course.

"I do not have any boys in my classes right now, but hopefully next year I do spark some interest," Matthews said.

It is a rare opportunity that students say they are thankful for, and so are the staff that volunteer their dogs for the class.

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