Vet Technician Degree
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Athens Alabama
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Athens AL may at first seem like a daunting undertaking. But to be successful as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first search for and ultimately enroll in a school that will provide the necessary education and training. And so that you pick the right one you must evaluate and compare all of the schools you are considering. When looking for vet tech schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes. When they have located some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when assessing vet technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated as well. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the programs you are reviewing. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various responsibilities of vet techs and the training options offered.
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Vet Technician Degree Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you desire to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Athens AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training in contrast to assistants and typically 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 general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complicated duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and essentially perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Athens AL labs or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An option that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Athens AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for example for traveling and study supplies, may be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you probably have decided on which veterinary degree that you would like to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Athens AL area as well as across the USA, you must ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to select a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that verifies you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Athens AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with online school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations concerning your specific schools. As a final tip, contact some Athens AL veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the schools you are considering have internship programs arranged with Athens AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local vet community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate might mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might signify that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Athens AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Athens AL colleges you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Athens AL home, you must make certain that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located near or in a larger city. Also, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinarian colleges you are considering offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Athens AL. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family issues. You may find that an online college is the ideal solution to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Athens Vet Technologist School
Selecting the right vet tech program is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students considering vet tech programs need to make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Athens Alabama.