Veterinary Technician Training Program
How to Find the Best One Near Decatur Alabama
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Decatur AL could initially seem like a challenging undertaking. After all, you need to find and enroll in a college that will deliver the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about evaluating and contrasting schools so that you can make the right choice? When checking out vet tech schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes. When they have located some local colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are significant factors when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated also. The bottom line is that before making a selection, you must finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the different roles of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
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Vet Technician Training Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the principal determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are many jobs that they can perform within the Decatur AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each position.
- 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 completing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared to 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 veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex functions, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years to complete. Therefore the main distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Decatur AL labs or research facilities also.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinarian degree that you wish to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Decatur AL area and across the USA, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you need to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the vet tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding screening process that ensures you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Decatur AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you select must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with internet 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 grievances or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final pointer, contact some Decatur AL veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to get 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 arranged with Decatur AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help establish connections in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A lower rate may mean that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Decatur AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might signify that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Decatur AL colleges you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to attend a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Get evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously discussed location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Decatur AL home, you have to make certain that the commuting 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, especially if the school is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do choose to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you find out if the veterinary schools you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Decatur AL. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family issues. You might discover that an online program is the best solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Decatur Vet Technologist College
Choosing the ideal veterinary technician program is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career providing treatment and care for animals. Future students considering vet tech programs must make their determination based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided 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 vet tech in Decatur Alabama.