Veterinary Technician School
How to Pick the Best One Near Atmore Alabama
Achieving your long term aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Atmore AL could initially seem like a daunting undertaking. But in order to succeed as a practicing veterinary technician, you must first search for and ultimately enroll in a school that will provide the necessary training and education. And so that you pick the right one you must research and compare all of the schools you are considering. Many future students start their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have found some area schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when assessing veterinary technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. The bottom line is that prior to making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
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Vet Tech Degree Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the primary factor will probably be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Atmore AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their typical responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared to assistants and typically earn a 2 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 veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complex duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. A number may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Atmore AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Veterinary Technician Schools Available
An alternative that might make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are provided over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Atmore AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, such as for traveling and study supplies, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just confirm that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you probably have selected which veterinarian degree that you want to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Atmore AL area and across the Country, you must ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough review process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Atmore AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or trade school and program you choose should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on internet school rating websites and checking 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, get in touch with some Atmore AL veterinarians that you might want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They might even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Atmore AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop connections in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate may suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the program has an excellent reputation within the Atmore AL vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Atmore AL colleges you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to attend some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we already talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Atmore AL home, you need to confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located near or in a large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending online classes may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Atmore AL. Others may only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of work, sickness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online college is the best way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Atmore Vet Technologist School
Selecting the right vet tech college is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career providing treatment and care for animals. Potential students thinking about vet tech colleges need to make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Atmore Alabama.