Veterinary Technician Degree
How to Select the Best One Near Dothan Alabama
Fulfilling your lifelong dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech program near Dothan AL may initially feel like a challenging task. But to be successful as a working veterinary technician, you need to first locate and ultimately enroll in a program that will provide the necessary education and training. And so that you pick the best one you must evaluate and compare all of the schools you have placed on your short list. When checking out vet tech schools, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes. When they have identified some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important factors when evaluating veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician schools you are considering before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the various roles of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
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Vet Tech Education Options
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary factor will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of tasks that they can carry out within the Dothan AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the standard vet practice, for instance 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 instances will have undergone 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 trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complicated undertakings, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and typically acquire 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 basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- 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 usually takes 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, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Dothan AL labs or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided through the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can usually be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Dothan AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, for example for traveling and study materials, may be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just be sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the perfect choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
At this point you probably have selected which veterinarian degree that you want to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Dothan AL area as well as across the USA, you should ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a demanding review process that confirms you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Dothan AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the vet community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with 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 complaints or violations regarding your specific schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Dothan AL vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with Dothan AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help establish relationships in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate could indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the school has an excellent reputation within the Dothan AL veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not well 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 get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Dothan AL programs you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Dothan AL home, you need to confirm that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus 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 increased tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's imperative that you find out if the veterinarian programs you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate 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 Dothan AL. Others may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies. You might find that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Dothan Vet Technologist School
Picking the ideal veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to beginning a gratifying career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet tech schools must make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Dothan Alabama.