Veterinary Technician Degree
How to Select the Right One Near Decatur Alabama
Achieving your long term dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Decatur AL could initially seem like a challenging task. But to be successful as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first locate and finally enroll in a program that will provide the required education and training. And in order to pick the right one you must evaluate and compare each of the schools you have placed on your short list. Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their residences. Once they have found some area colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important considerations when evaluating vet technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into also. The bottom line is that prior to making a selection, you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are evaluating. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the varied duties of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
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Vet Technician Education Options
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Decatur AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing 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 execution of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for example assisting with surgeries. Some of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training in contrast to assistants and usually obtain a two 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 general job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes four years. 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 career options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Decatur AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Available
An approach that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are made available via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Decatur AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for example for traveling and study materials, may be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online vet tech program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Decatur AL area and across the USA, you need to ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that ensures you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Decatur AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you select must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations concerning your specific schools. As a final tip, phone some Decatur AL vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the colleges you are considering have internship programs arranged with Decatur AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinary 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 can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate could suggest that the teachers were unqualified to teach the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Decatur AL vet community and has a considerable 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 bigger, you probably will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Decatur AL schools you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we previously discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Decatur AL home, you have to make certain 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 drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located in or close by a large city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the vet schools you are considering offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Decatur AL. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of work, sickness or family issues. You may find that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Chosse the Right Decatur Veterinary Technologist Program
Choosing the ideal veterinary technician program is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career providing care and treatment for animals. Potential students considering vet tech colleges need to make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the ideal school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Decatur Alabama.