Vet Technician College
How to Find the Right One Near Atmore Alabama
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech program near Atmore AL could at first feel like an overwhelming endeavor. But to be successful as a working veterinary technician, you need to first locate and finally enroll in a program that will provide the necessary education and training. And in order to pick the best one you must evaluate and compare all of the schools you have placed on your short list. Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their residences. Once they have identified some nearby schools, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are important factors when comparing vet tech programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician schools you are considering before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the different roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
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Vet Technician Training Options
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of tasks that they can carry out within the Atmore AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved undertakings, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared with assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires four years. So the main distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Atmore AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Programs Available
An alternative that may make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using various methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Atmore AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for instance for travel and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make certain that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian degree that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Atmore AL area and across the Country, you must ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously mentioned, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive review process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Atmore AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you select should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions relating to your targeted schools. As a final tip, contact some Atmore AL veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend some schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with Atmore AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local vet community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may signify that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Atmore AL veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Atmore AL colleges you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Atmore AL home, you have to make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do choose to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course taking classes online could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you find out if the veterinary schools you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Atmore AL. Some might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies. You may find that an online school is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Atmore Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the ideal veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Students thinking about veterinary technician schools need to make their determination based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Atmore Alabama.