Veterinary Technician Program
How to Select the Right One Near Birmingham Alabama
Finding a veterinary technician school near Birmingham AL to achieve your passionate goal to help and provide medical treatment for animals might initially seem like an enormous challenge. After all, you must find and enroll in a program that will furnish the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about analyzing and comparing schools so that you can make the correct selection? When checking out vet tech programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes. After they have found some local schools, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the programs you are assessing. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the varied responsibilities of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Tech Education Options
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of functions that they can carry out within the Birmingham AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the conventional vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complex undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared to assistants and generally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved duties, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally 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, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Birmingham AL labs or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An option that might make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Birmingham AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for example for traveling and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more standard classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the perfect choice for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you would like to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Birmingham AL area and across the USA, you must ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier 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 gone through a thorough screening process that verifies you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Birmingham AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on 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 regarding your targeted schools. As a final pointer, contact some Birmingham AL veterinarians that you might want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Birmingham AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help establish relationships in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate could mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Birmingham AL veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not well 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 receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Birmingham AL programs you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we already covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Birmingham AL home, you need to make certain that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out 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 choose to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes might be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you determine if the veterinarian programs 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 go to classes on the weekends or at night near Birmingham AL. Some might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You may find that an online program is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Vet Technologist College
Picking the ideal vet tech school is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students considering vet tech colleges need to make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the right college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Birmingham Alabama.