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Veterinary Technician College
How to Select the Best One Near Athens Alabama

Athens Alabama dog with big ears wearing coneRealizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech college near Athens AL may at first feel like an overwhelming endeavor. But in order to succeed as a practicing veterinary technician, you must first search for and finally enroll in a program that will provide the required education and training. But just how do you go about assessing and contrasting programs so that you can make the best selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their residences. Once they have found some local colleges, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the programs you are examining. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.

IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW

Vet Tech Training Options

Athens Alabama veterinarian checking dog's blood pressure

One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal factor will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are many duties that they can perform within the Athens AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each specialty.

  • Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved undertakings, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
  • Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared with assistants and usually earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.

Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Athens AL laboratories or research facilities as well.

What to Ask Vet Tech Schools

Athens Alabama cat in carrier in veterinary hospitalAt this point you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you would like to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Athens AL area as well as across the United States, you should ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to enroll in a program that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.

Is the Veterinary School Accredited?  It's important that you make sure that the vet tech college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous review process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is often a requirement for employment for a number of Athens AL area vet clinics and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The veterinary college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on online school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations regarding your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Athens AL vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The best means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Athens AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.

Is Job Assistance Provided?  Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate may mean that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might mean that the college has an excellent reputation within the Athens AL veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.

How Big are the Classes?  If the classes are bigger, you most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Athens AL colleges you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the Campus Located?  Of course, we already discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Athens AL home, you need to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes could be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And last, it's important that you determine if the veterinary colleges you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Athens AL. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies. You might find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your vet training into your active life.

Learn More About How to Become a Veterinary Technologist in Athens

Chosse the Right Athens Veterinary Technologist Program

Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Future students considering veterinary technician schools need to make their decision based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the best school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Athens Alabama.



 

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