Santa Clarita, Calif., August 20, 2019 — Changing careers after age 50 can be scary for some people. However, for Estela Marroquin, the decision was easy. After spending 47 years in the workforce, she yearned for the opportunity to do something different and learn something new. She was not interested in retiring and spending her golden years the way her parents’ generation did. She wanted to remain active and do something exciting and interesting that mattered most to her – helping animals. After many hours of research online, Estela enrolled in Animal Behavior College’s (ABC) Veterinary Assistant Program (VAP). She graduated and was certified earlier this summer and is an Animal Behavior Certified Veterinary Assistant (ABCVA).
“It was a perfect match. ABC offered the perfect Veterinary Assistant Program – online, at-your-own pace and affordable,” Estela said. “I researched employment opportunities for retirees like me, who might be interested in working full or part-time and there were plenty of opportunities for employment. I decided to enroll in the program to enrich myself and to learn about animal care.”
Born in Brownsville, Texas in 1953, Estela is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her father migrated to the U.S. to start a new life and spoke no English. After going to college, he pursued aeronautical engineering and spent his career working for NASA. It was her father who instilled the importance of education and hard work. And it was his example that influenced Estela to pursue her career interests.
“I was proud of what he accomplished with so little and always felt that everything was within my reach. I always knew I could do anything if I had [an] interest and drive to accomplish it,” she said. “I still feel this way. Learning is a privilege and a joy, even at an older age. No one should allow their age to keep them from living the fullest and most productive life possible.”
There are approximately 76 million baby boomers in the U.S. (people born between 1946 and 1964), which represents about 29 percent of the population. And the majority are still in the workforce, according to the Pew Research Center. Some baby boomers, such as Estela, have retired and changed careers doing what they’ve always wanted to do – work doing something they truly enjoy or volunteer. They find fulfillment helping their communities and making a difference in the lives of others. For Estela, it’s using her newly acquired veterinary assistant skills to work with animal rehabilitation at the San Diego Humane Society. Although she enjoys helping these animals, her goal is to eventually relocate to Northern California to volunteer on a ranch to help care for farm animals.
It was while volunteering at a ranch in Colorado and during a road trip to the Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe areas that Estela fell in love with farm animals and ranching. The variety of animals and beautiful, open landscapes inspired her passion and interest.
“I came from a ranching family in Mexico generations before, and I believe without a doubt that my calling to animal care came from my connection to my ranching roots,” she explained.
“Farm animals are so interesting and smart, and my favorites are alpacas, donkeys, goats, sheep, llamas and pigs. And working with them and watching them cavort and play in nature is too wonderful to explain,” Estela said excitedly.
‘The laughter and joy they bring is inexplicable. Have you ever seen a donkey and goat play together while pushing a yoga ball? It’s so much fun watching them entertain each other. That is the environment I want to be a part of!”
Estela believes everyone, regardless of their age, should actively pursue their passion by doing work they enjoy and find meaningful.
“If you love animals, consider enrolling in Animal Behavior College to improve and learn a new skill. Whatever your passion is, do it. Don’t take life or anything for granted. Continue to learn and grow and be the best and strongest person you can be. Most of all, find what calls your heart, and it will lead you home,” she said.
ABC’s online Veterinary Assistant Program is one of four programs approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), a distinction that is highly regarded in the veterinary community. Participants learn everything from examination room procedures and pharmacology to surgical preparation, radiology and ultrasound imaging. Upon completing the program, graduates are certified by ABC as ABCVAs. They then qualify to take NAVTA’s national examination, and if they pass, receive Approved Veterinary Assistants (AVA) designation that recognizes their accomplishments. Currently, more than 9,400 students have graduated from VAP.
In addition to VAP, ABC offers three other professional certifications in pet grooming , dog trainer training and cat training. Specialized certificates of completion in seven short-term programs are also available on subjects, including doggie daycare, pet fostering, pet nutrition and training shelter dogs.
For more information, call 800-795-3294 or visit Animal Behavior College.
About Animal Behavior College
Founded in 1998, Animal Behavior College is a vocational school that trains professional dog trainers, cat trainers, veterinary assistants and pet groomers nationwide and in the 10 provinces of Canada. ABC has graduated more than 28,700 students from its four core programs combined. Students obtain practical hands-on experience applying what they learn by working side-by-side with a member of ABC’s expert mentors group. These mentors include thousands of professional dog trainers, veterinary hospitals and clinics and grooming salons from across the U.S. and Canada who are dedicated to helping students succeed in the pet services industry.