Veterinary Technician Program
How to Find the Best One Near Decatur Alabama
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Decatur AL to achieve your lifelong goal to help and provide medical treatment for our pets may from the start seem like an overwhelming challenge. But in order to succeed as a working veterinary technician, you must first search for and finally enroll in a program that will provide the required training and education. And so that you pick the right one you must research and compare all of the schools you are considering. When looking for vet tech programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes. Once they have located some area colleges, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant concerns when evaluating veterinary technician schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech schools you are considering before you make a final decision. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
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Vet Tech Education Options
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Decatur AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the conventional vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their typical responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared to assistants and usually earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated functions, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Decatur AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An option that might be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available through the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using various methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Decatur AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for example for travel and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just confirm 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 program may be the perfect option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you should have selected which veterinarian credential that you would like to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Decatur AL area as well as across the Country, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the veterinary technician program you select 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 thorough screening process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a prerequisite for employment for a number of Decatur AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Decatur AL vet clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend one or more programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are considering have internship programs established with Decatur AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help establish associations in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate could mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could mean that the school has an excellent reputation within the Decatur AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify 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 in size, you most likely will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Decatur AL colleges you are looking at what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Decatur AL home, you have to confirm 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, especially if the school is located close by or within a large city. Also, if you do decide to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinarian schools you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Decatur AL. Others might only be able to attend classes in the morning or 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 might miss because of work, sickness or family emergencies. You may find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Decatur Veterinary Technologist School
Choosing the right veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career providing care and treatment for animals. Potential students looking into veterinary technician colleges need to make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech schools 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 choosing the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Decatur Alabama.