Veterinary Technician Degree Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
Achieving your long term dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Fairhope AL might initially feel like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will provide the necessary training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing schools so that you can make the right choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their residences. After they have located some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant factors when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered also. The bottom line is that prior to making a selection, you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are examining. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Technician Degree Options
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are many duties that they can perform within the Fairhope AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared to assistants and normally obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and for the most part carry out the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes four years. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased 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 receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Fairhope AL labs or research facilities also.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary credential that you wish to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Fairhope AL area as well as across the United States, you need to ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other significant qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you need to enroll in a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech colleges that you are considering.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's important that you verify that the veterinary technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive screening process that ensures you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for many Fairhope AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you enroll in must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with internet school rating 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 targeted schools. As a final suggestion, call some Fairhope AL veterinary 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 colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the programs you are looking at have internship programs set up with Fairhope AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate may mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the school has an excellent reputation within the Fairhope AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Fairhope AL schools you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Okay, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Fairhope AL home, you have to confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do opt 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. Of course attending classes online could be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's essential that you determine if the vet programs you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Fairhope AL. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are available before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online college is the best way to fit your vet training into your active life.
Chosse the Right Fairhope Veterinary Technologist School
Choosing the appropriate veterinary technician program is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about veterinary technician schools must make their selection based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the right school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Fairhope Alabama.