Vet Technician School
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Decatur Alabama
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Decatur AL to fulfill your passionate desire to work with and provide medical treatment for animals might from the start seem like an overwhelming challenge. After all, you need to find and enroll in a college that will provide the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. And so that you pick the right one you must evaluate and compare each of the schools you have placed on your short list. Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their homes. After they have located some local colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the varied duties of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
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Vet Tech Education Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you plan to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary factor will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many duties that they can perform within the Decatur AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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 execution of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved functions, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Decatur AL labs or research facilities as well.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you probably have selected which veterinary degree that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Decatur AL area and across the USA, you must ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are looking at.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the vet tech school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding review process that confirms you will get 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 obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a precondition for employment for many Decatur AL area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with internet school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations concerning your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Decatur AL veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the schools you are looking at have internship programs set up with Decatur AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate might mean that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the school has an excellent reputation within the Decatur AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you may get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Decatur AL programs you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Decatur AL home, you must 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 commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located close by or within a larger 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 charges particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's important that you ascertain if the veterinary colleges you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Decatur AL. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss due to work, sickness or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online college is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Decatur Veterinary Technologist School
Picking the ideal veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Students considering vet tech programs need to make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Decatur Alabama.