Kansas State University's Olathe, Kan., campus is now offering a graduate certificate designed for the regulatory affairs sector of the animal health industry.
According to the announcement, the Animal Health Regulatory Affairs Graduate Certificate is a 15-credit hour program that combines the knowledge of animal science and veterinary medicine with the skills needed to navigate government processes and regulations throughout the product life cycle. The certificate is based on industry input and is tailored to industry needs.
Kansas State-Olathe said this is the first graduate certificate in the U.S. to focus solely on animal health regulatory affairs.
Regulatory affairs are a critical component of the growing animal health industry, according to Bill Zollers, vice president for regulatory affairs for North America at Norbrook Inc.
"There is a continuous demand for highly educated professionals who specialize in regulatory affairs," Zollers said. "That demand for talent won't ever slow down. If anything, the need is increasing as the industry continues to discover new pharmaceuticals, therapeutics and products that improve animal health."
While demand exists for employees who specialize in animal health regulatory affairs, there is often a skills gap, said Stacy Pursell, founder and chief executive officer of The VET Recruiter, an executive search and recruitment firm concentrating on the animal health industry.
"As a recruiter, this is a challenging job position to fill, because most companies are seeking professionals with experience," Pursell said. "However, some who are currently in the animal health industry are not yet qualified."
With a continuous need for highly educated employees, companies have been investing significant resources and time into developing "homegrown" talent, Pursell said. However, this homegrown education has led to most employees specializing in one of the three federal agencies that oversee animal health products rather than having a robust knowledge about the regulations and practices required by all three federal agencies.
"Our program seeks to rectify that knowledge gap that comes with this siloed grooming process," said Gary Anderson, director of the Animal Health & Food Safety Institute at Kansas State's Olathe campus. "Among the regulatory knowledge taught, three separate courses focus on the Food & Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This means graduates exit with not only broader and deeper knowledge about regulatory affairs, but they also are more familiar with each of the three federal agencies that oversee animal drug, vaccine and pesticide development."
To ensure that the curriculum is relevant and applicable, courses are taught by faculty with industry backgrounds. Courses also incorporate industry professionals with regulatory experience to lead in-depth discussions on key topics.
The certificate is open to professionals from all backgrounds, not just those in animal health.
Learn more about the Animal Health Regulatory Affairs Graduate Certificate at olathe.k-state.edu/regaffairscert.