Veterinary Technician Training
How to Find the Right One Near Calera Alabama
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Calera AL to achieve your lifelong goal to work with and care for our pets may initially feel like an enormous task. After all, you must locate and enroll in a college that will deliver the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the proper choice? When looking for vet tech schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes. Once they have found some local schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant factors when evaluating vet technician programs, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered also. The bottom line is that prior to making a selection, you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the programs you are reviewing. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the varied responsibilities of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
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Vet Tech Degree Options
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal determiner will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many jobs that they can perform within the Calera AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the typical vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared to assistants and generally earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes four years to complete. Therefore 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 work options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Calera AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
By now you should have decided on which veterinarian degree that you would like to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Calera AL area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other essential qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous review process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a precondition for employment for many Calera AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you choose must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final suggestion, contact some Calera AL veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They might even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the programs you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Calera AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build relationships in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A low rate may mean that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the college has an excellent reputation within the Calera AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Calera AL schools you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Calera AL home, you have to make sure that the commuting 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, especially if the campus is located in or near 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 state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online could be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's important that you ascertain if the vet colleges you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Calera AL. Some might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies. You might discover that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Calera Vet Technologist College
Choosing the ideal vet tech school is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students considering veterinary technician programs need to make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients 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 profession. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by picking the best program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Calera Alabama.