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Hang Your Stockings (and Mistletoe, Holly, Tinsel, Etc.) with Care… for Your Pets!

From Urban Legends to Real Dangers, Vatterott College’s Dr. Nancy Wolfe-Bay Talks

Holiday Pet Safety-Proofing Your Home

Vatterott College’s Veterinary Technician Program is urging pet-parents to think of their furry loved ones’ safety during this holiday season, and to remember they are not humans!

“Pets are often referred to as our ‘best friend’, and with good reason–they make us laugh and brighten our day,” says Nancy Wolfe-Bay, DVM, Vatterott College – Fairview Heights Veterinary Technician Program Director. “The problem is, when we see our pets as just another member of the family we can sometimes forget that there are distinct differences between our little (or big!) furry friends and ourselves. There are many fun aspects of the holidays that can harm animals, such as certain foods and objects we wouldn’t even think could actually be a real threat to an animal’s safety.”

Pets can be particularly susceptible to dangers during the holiday season when many unfamiliar objects, such as decorations, are out on display and there are many more parties and celebrations happening in the home. Dr. Wolfe-Bay has provided these tips for keeping your pet out of harm’s way:

Put the human treats in high places

Chocolate is a well-known poisonous item for pets, particularly dogs. However, there are a number of other treats that should be kept out of your pet’s range of vision as well. Macadamia nuts can cause harm to pets, as well as raisins (so keep the fruit cake in a safe place) and grapes. Xylitol, a naturally occurring substance found in a wide variety of sources such as berries, oats and many artificially sweetened items, is also extremely toxic to pets and should be kept out of sight.

Skip the holly, mistletoe and flower bulbs

Holly, mistletoe and flower bulbs (lilies in particular) can be poisonous to pets! If ingested, these plants can cause severe stomach problems. It’s best not to keep these plants in the house, but if you must, either put them in a place you can ensure your pets won’t get to them or use a synthetic version. Poinsettias are often listed as a highly toxic plant for pets, but in actuality that’s an urban legend from the 1900s. Poinsettias are only mildly toxic and at most will cause an allergic reaction to sensitive individuals.

Be careful of unattended alcoholic drinks

If you and your guests are drinking alcohol while your pet is around, make sure that no drink is left unattended. Pets have sneaky ways of getting into things they’re not supposed to and alcohol can be poisonous.

Watch the tree

If you celebrate with a Christmas tree there are several ways to ensure the tree is safe for your pet. First, anchor your tree so that it does not tip and fall when your pet is nearby. If your tree is real be sure to keep pine needles off the ground, they are sharp enough to puncture intestines if eaten by a pet. Also, watch the water inside the tree stand — bacteria can grow there that is harmful to pets. It’s also wise to be careful with any additives added to the water.

Forget the tinsel

Tinsel is very attractive to pets since it’s shiny and fun to play with. The problem is that pets are also likely to try to eat tinsel, and again it can do a number on their intestines. Do your pet (and yourself) a favor and don’t use it.

Be careful of decorations

Decorations on trees, especially edible ones, can be really intriguing to pets which will lead to tugging at trees, etc., so keep them up high on the tree. Candles can be a safety hazard as well, pets can knock them over and burn themselves, so either keep them in a safe place or use artificial ones.

Although there are a lot of things to keep an eye on when looking out for your pet’s safety during the holidays, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and be festive. Taking small precautions such as keeping the floor clear, using artificial plants and watching where you place your food and drinks can keep a pet safe without sacrificing your holiday cheer.

Vatterott College-Fairview Heights offers a Veterinary Technician degree program in which students can expect to receive instruction from industry professionals. Courses include animal nursing, clinical pathology and animal diseases. Graduates will possess skills in the handling and restraint of animal patients, nursing care, veterinary office procedures, sterilization, radiology, pharmacology, hematology, blood chemistry, parasitology, microbiology procedures, anesthesia and surgical assistance. For more information click here.


About Vatterott College

Vatterott College has been dedicated to providing quality career training to students seeking the skills to advance in their field since 1969. Vatterott, with its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, has campuses across the Midwest. Diploma, associate and bachelor degrees are offered in trade industries and computer technology, with 20 locations across seven states and online programming. To learn more, please visit

History of the Internet

It is amazing how quickly the Internet has managed to change the entire workings of modern society. Just 30 years ago, the idea of the Internet was unknown among anyone but a few scientists. Computers were used mainly as calculation tools. Through the 1960s and 1970s, researchers had been working on improving communication between computers. This led to the development of ARPANET, which was used by the U.S. government for communications. But it was not until 1982 that ARPANET adopted official standards for transferring messages, allowing for the creation of the Internet as we know it today.

This was also the time period when average people started to purchase home computers. The Internet does not exist in one place, rather it is a network of information supported by every computer that is connected to it. The more computers became commonplace, the larger the Internet became. By the end of the 1990s, the true potential of the Internet began to materialize. As more and more people began sharing information, first with messages, then with images, sound and video, the Internet became what it is today.

Modern Web Design Changes Society

The Internet has come a long way from its purely text-based days. Much of this has to do with web design, the art of making the nuts and bolts – or 0s and 1s – of computers and networks into a usable tool for the average person. Using the Internet in the 1980s took a good deal of technical ability, while using it today is something even a child can do. A lot of this is thanks to the work of web developers.

Modern web design allows consumers to connect socially, to shop and to work. It allows people to conduct important financial and banking transactions online. It has also created a revolution in education options, with web-based learning becoming increasingly popular. Much of this is based on tools developed by individuals who work with web development.

Careers In Web Design

If you are the kind of person that wants to contribute to the Internet revolution, becoming a web designer is a great place to start. But it is important to research your options. There are a number of different disciplines in web design, some of which may be more appealing to you than others.

Some web designers focus on programming, while others work in information architecture. Still others focus more on design, or content. Each has its own particular skill set that is needed to excel, and each offers a different way to approach the field of web design. You can pursue work in whichever area interests you most.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of web developers is expected to grow by twenty percent, faster than the average for all occupations, between 2012 and 2022.

If you are ready to pursue a degree in web design, check out the programs offered by Vatterott today!

Emerging Business News

Every era has had its share of new business opportunities, but the modern age has pushed this cycle to ever-faster speeds. Now, a multi-million-dollar opportunity doesn’t have to involve the invention of an entirely new technology. Instead, a new use of an existing one can catapult an owner to riches or revolutionize an industry. Here are some recent top headlines and ideas that give a good overview of what types of businesses are currently gaining attention – and money.

Alibaba Values Snapchat at $15 Billion

According to The Wall Street Journal Online, Alibaba Group Holding of Beijing has invested $200 million in Snapchat, but the deal shows that it believes that the entire company is worth a whopping $15 billion. This proves that internet companies that deal with facilitating interpersonal communication are still going strong. Even so, making money in this arena takes more than setting up a generic social media site. The high-value companies have all put some sort of unique twist on the idea.

Brent Crude Oil Price Rises at the Expense of WTI

While it could be said that all hugely profitable industries have been revolutionary in some way, several of these businesses did their revolutionizing long ago. Now, it’s hard to imagine a life without oil, but that doesn’t mean that the oil industry is stable. Prices go up and down for a number of factors, and in this case, says that worries about a weakened retail industry are behind the pricing fluctuations.

Traveling Salons Predicted to Become Big

Business News Daily predicts that traveling beauty salons are likely to be a hit in the upcoming years. This rosy outlook is based on the idea that aging Baby Boomers won’t want to give up salon service as they get too old to regularly travel to their usual stylists. Therefore, companies that are willing to go to the customers’ locations should find a ready supply of customers.

What Does it Take to Succeed at Business?

Each industry requires some form of industry-specific knowledge, but there are also plenty of things that every businessperson should know. Even though some entrepreneurs learn them through the School of Hard Knocks, it’s better and often easier to learn them at a local school like Vatterott College. There, you can take a small business marketing course, get CMA certification, learn about economics and accounting, and add on other essential courses in business. With this foundation, it will be much easier to make a new business successful or get onto an existing company’s team. Thanks to online business programs, you won’t even have to worry about traveling to a distant campus to get a great foundation to work from.

A Day in the Life of a Veterinary Technician

Working with animals can be fun and rewarding for those who love their 4-legged friends. Veterinary Technicians work with animals every day. They are the veterinary equivalent of a nurse’s aid or hospital assistant.

What’s it Like to be a Vet Tech?

Much of a veterinary assistant’s day is spent taking care of the animals that have come to spend some time at the office. You’ll feed and water cats and dogs, give them their medicines, and sometimes, bathe them. If you work with a rural vet, you may also deal with horses and other livestock. This, however, isn’t all that you’ll do. You’ll also need to help veterinarians by restraining animals during procedures, sterilizing surgical instruments and other tools, collecting biological samples, and keeping various areas of the practice clean. This includes cleaning kennels and cages. Because there are so many duties, you may want to seek veterinary assistant training before you start.

Veterinary practices tend to be busy environments thanks to the low ratio of vets to animals. If you’re the type of person who likes being physically busy all day, this career may be a perfect fit.

Are There Typical Business Hours?

Yes, most vets have standard hours for the bulk of their business. Expect to start just before the “average workday” begins and leave in the early to mid evening. Some offices will also hire someone to work nights in order to keep watch on animals recovering from surgeries.

Is Being a Veterinary Assistant Easy?

It’s harder than you might think. On occasion, you’ll find yourself having to lift heavy, sick dogs up onto examination or operating tables. Since some canine species weigh over 100 lbs., this will give you quite a workout! You’ll also run into the occasional problem dog or cat.

Emotionally, it’s often hard to deal with the cases that result in euthanasia or the sick animals that simply don’t pull through. On the other hand, you’ll see animals that come in on death’s door and end up making full recoveries.

What Else is Good to Know?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide in 2012 veterinary assistants earned a median annual salary of $23,130. While some office hire individuals without veterinary assistant training, earning this training at a vet tech school may give you a leg up over the competition.

What is Your Earning Potential with an Associate’s Degree?

It may come as a surprise, but your ideal job may not require a bachelor’s degree. Some professions require an associate’s degree, attainable after just two years of schooling.

Some of the careers are in the trades, so schools that offer the required degree are sometimes called trade schools, technical schools, or even career colleges. Here are some of the jobs an associate’s degree will prepare you to pursue:

Auto Mechanic

Some may not view a career as a mechanic as glamorous, but job satisfaction has nothing to do with flashiness. If you like to figure out mechanical systems and fix things, you’re a good candidate for this profession. Even better, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) employment in this field is expected to grow 9% between 2012 and 2022 and the median annual salary of automotive service technician and mechanics in 2012 was $36,610.

HVAC Technician

Most homes and businesses have heating, air conditioning, or both – and all of those machines need to be fixed and maintained on a regular basis. The requirements for becoming an HVAC technician vary by state, but licensing is involved in most cases. Work in this field requires traveling to customers’ locations to fix or help install HVAC equipment. While most techs don’t do a lot of customer service, some social graces are required since you’ll be meeting the customers on the way in and out of their homes or businesses. According to the BLS, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned a median annual wage of $68,990 in 2012.

Medical Assistant

Medical assisting can take the form of direct interaction with patients or it can be an administrative job that deals with things like billing. Those who interact with patients will do simple medical tasks like taking blood pressure, getting people’s medical histories, or taking blood samples. Billers, on the other hand, may deal with patients on the phone but will spend more time talking to insurance companies and preparing paperwork. According to the BLS, in 2012 medical assistants earned a median salary of $29,370 and employment of medical assistants is expected to grow an impressive 29% between 2012 and 2022.

Institutions like Vatterott College are great places to earn trade-oriented associates degrees because they focus on preparing you for an immediate career. Vatterott has courses for all of the trades mentioned here as well as other exciting and growing fields. Give them a call and take your first steps toward a new career.


How You Can Be an Innovative Employee

Once you have determined which career you want to pursue, it is time to lay out some plans for entering, succeeding at, and progressing along that career path. You can decide which career fits your skills, personality and personal objectives through testing, counseling and entry-level jobs in that chosen area of employment. Once you have the necessary skills and experience, becoming an innovative employee is an excellent way to move up in your chosen career.

Career College

You are not alone if you decide to improve your skills by attending a career college. The U.S. Department of Education reports that approximately 44 percent of American adults are seeking to improve their job skills by taking continuing education courses. Some people just want to learn and meet other adults, while others are dedicated to improving their job skills or preparing to switch careers. Enroll in a traditional university degree program, take vocational classes, study for a professional certification or take independent classes. Career colleges typically offer courses that help people learn and improve various job skills through basic training and advanced or specialized studies.


You can earn postsecondary diplomas in person or online, depending on your choice of educational institution. Combining both online and onground learning is also typically an option. These programs are popular because you may be able to obtain a needed set of skills in less time than it takes to earn an associate or bachelors degree. Learning better job skills is an excellent way to open the door to career advancement. Many employers want their employees to continue their education and may help with tuition costs, or offer flexible schedules that allow you to attend career classes.

Associates Degrees

Options for earning an associate degree are increasing, thanks to organizations like Vatterott Educational Centers, Inc. This career college offers multiple land-based locations, as well as online programs and other continuing education opportunities. Learn new career skills by taking programs in the fields of: Business, Technical, Legal, Medical, Trades, Dental, Personal Fitness, Cosmetology, Veterinary and more. Completion of each course improves your job skills and may increase your value as an employee.

As you add to your education and job skills, become a more innovative employee by following a few simple rules:

  • Get Organized – stop wasting time on emails and texting; focus on your job duties
  • Limit Multi-tasking – focus on getting one job at a time done well
  • Empathize with your boss – take time to learn what they want and need from an employee
  • Build relationships with company leaders – associate with winners and learn how they became valued team members
  • Become a great listener to others at work – you can learn a lot this way
  • Go the extra mile to perform – get to work early, do your research and preparation
  • Do not over-promote yourself
  • Take some real time off and relax when you can

Be innovative by learning new job skills and applying them creatively on the job. As your boss notices, your path to advancement should become smoother.


Tips for Replicating the Best Hairstyles from the Grammys

The Grammys, like other celebrity extravaganzas, provide more than a chance to watch famous people. They also give viewers plenty of inspiration for clothing, hair styles, cosmetics, and accessories. This year’s hair styles were highly varied, and some are easy to replicate at home. Other styles might get you thinking about regional hair schools since they clearly take more know-how to do properly. Here are some of the top styles that were seen:

Long Hair

While some of the musicians went with complex styles, Beyonce chose an old standby: Long, flowing tresses. Ariana Grande went with the ponytail variant, and Nicki Manaj had a fairly straight, sideswept mid-length do.

One of the important tricks to a long, flowing hairstyle is treating the hair properly. For those whose hair is naturally straight, this is as easy as choosing the right shampoo and conditioner. Alas, most people naturally have waves or curlier hair, so they need to straighten it to get it to perform properly in a long style. Straighteners are hard on hair, so extra conditioner and oil treatments are needed to keep treated locks from breaking.

Bleaching and Strong Coloring

Many Grammy attendees sported bleached hair, while Katy Perry went with a lavender-colored hairdo. Both of these effects start with bleaching the hair’s natural color until it’s gone or nearly gone. Then, any desired colors are added to the whitened hair for the final appearance. If the hair is to be left white, no additional color is needed.

The success of an extreme bleach job depends mostly on the original color of the hair. Light to medium hair colors will bleach all the way up to white, but hair that starts out black or dark brown will almost always end up yellow instead. Therefore, those who like the bleached look should be sure their hair is able to lighten to the desired level before going forward.


Gwen Stefani sported a short, bleached updo that many people will likely find hard to duplicate. The trick is to use a product that holds the hair in position without making it look too fake and lacquered. Another important factor is having an artistic eye. Professional hairstylists don’t just have this artistic eye by chance. They develop it, and their techniques, by going to hair school.

To learn more about how to think of and create artistic hairstyles, sign up for some beauty school programs. These programs will explain important factors like how a hair style works with face shape to produce the perfect overall effect. Of course, they also teach exactly how to get the hair to do what is desired.

Choosing a Career That’s Right for You in 2015

Open up your future in 2015 by searching for opportunities and finding a new career that’s right for you. This new beginning is an excellent time to review and reconsider where you are at in your work life. There’s no reason not to look at different career options, especially when there are so many ways to change your path and expand your reach.

New Career

Finding a new career is a popular topic, addressed frequently in the media at the start of a new year. Information about a variety of careers is compiled by credible sources, such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). This site contains information based on real statistics from the current job market. By researching potential career choices that appeal to you and your personal interests, you can narrow down the field before you take the next step toward choosing your new career.

For example, the BLS has created a list of the fastest growing occupations. This list is dominated by career in the areas of health care and technology and includes salary and expected job growth figures.

Choosing a Career

When you begin choosing a career, make a short list of your needs, wants, and dreams. Include things like ease of entry, available jobs, pay and salary rates, growth prospects, and what would make the new job satisfactory to you. Write down your current skills and experience, so you can eventually determine what else you need to learn to transition into your desired new career.

New Degree

Even if you are currently skilled in a field, it may be necessary to obtain additional training to pursue your new career. You may not need to spend four years at a university. Many people get the knowledge they need through online job training and degree programs. This may allow you to make progress towards your new career while retaining your current position.


Many online training centers offer comprehensive programs providing training in a variety of popular careers. For example, Vatterott College offers programming in nine broad career categories. Some classes are offered on-ground; others are available online.

Choosing a career that’s right for you in 2015 may mean exciting changes that bring you greater opportunities. There’s no better time to examine this option than today; start now while the year is fresh and you are motivated to consider an upgrade in your career.

How to Become a Dental Assistant

Those who wish to pursue a dental career but prefer not to spend several years in college may benefit from dental assistant training. After completing a dental assistant program, typically about one year in length, candidates are prepared to work in a variety of settings. Potential dental assistants can begin their journey by learning more about this exciting career.

Education for Dental Assistants

Many aspiring dental assistants complete a postsecondary program that includes several months of practical training in both clinical skills and administrative duties. Graduates may then choose to take the national board exams and receive certification.

When pursuing a career as a dental assistant, individuals should first obtain the right education.

  • Enter a dental assistant educational program. Vatterott’s 60-week, 65.5 credit hour Dental Assistant program may be a good option. This comprehensive program prepares students to tackle many of the challenges presented in a dentist’s office.
  • Take the national board exams. Provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), these exams are open to graduates of accredited programs and those who have completed the required amount of on-the-job training. Importantly, certification through these exams may make dental assistants more attractive to potential employers.

Working as a Dental Assistant

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment of dental assistants will grow twenty-five percent (25%) between 2012 and 2022. This rapid growth is considered much faster than average when compared to all occupations. Dental assistants with the proper education and drive can feel hopeful about their employment prospects.

Dental assistant tasks include checking in patients, completing relevant medical histories, taking patients’ blood pressure, pulse, x-rays and teeth impressions, ensuring patient comfort throughout the visit, training patients on proper oral care and hygiene and assisting the dentist during dental procedures. Additionally, assistants are involved in controlling infection, sterilizing instruments, running the front office and communicating with vendors.

Career Growth for Dental Assistants

While basic dental assistant training provides access to a variety of work opportunities, advanced training may also be beneficial. Adequate training equips dental assistants to work in solo, group and hospital dental practices. Additional jobs may be found with pediatric dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics. Dental school clinics, insurance companies, vocational schools and dental sales companies also hire dental assistants to work directly with patients or in administrative capacities.

Preparation for a dental career can begin with a quality education from Vatterott. Graduates will be equipped to embark on an exciting and rewarding career.

New Year, New You – Start the New Year with a New Career

Make your new year all new for you by beginning your training for a new career. There are many paths to success. You can achieve your goals so long as you plan ahead and keep moving forward, one step at a time. We have a few ideas here to get you started with your plans for 2015.

Make Your Dream Career Reality

Dreams are pretty interesting. They have an ephemeral quality. As much as you try to remember dreams, they have a unique way of just disappearing – unless you take some immediate action to write them down. The same can be said for your dream career. Once you know which career you want to pursue, that dream will only materialize if you take concrete steps to make it reality for you. Here are three important steps to take now, to begin your journey in this new year, 2015.

Step 1. Your New Career – The first step is to decide which career you would like to pursue. To winnow down your options to the few that you feel will fit your personality, your skills and your desires. There are a multitude of choices and this may make you feel a bit overwhelmed. However, there is an amazing resource website that may help. The U. S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website provides important facts about a range of career choices. This website offers you the latest reports and statistics about various occupations, helping you identify the opportunities that are available. Learn about wages, geographic locations, broad industry facts and specific, detailed facts about occupations in the private and government/public sector. Once you have narrowed down your career choices, it is time to look at career preparation and education.

Step 2. Your Online Degree – For many people, getting an online degree is an accessible and affordable choice. Before signing up for any program, it is important to know whether the program is accredited and meets your academic standards. Vatterott College offers quality, accredited online programs.

Step 3. Consider Trade School – Trade schools, where you learn by doing, may be an excellent choice, especially for careers in construction or other mechanical occupations. Many trade schools also offer externship opportunities.

New Year, New You

Get started now, by doing your research, narrowing your focus, and finding out career details at the BLS website so you can determine what education or training is required for success in your chosen career. Planning now makes all the difference that allows you to start preparing for a new career in 2015.