Veterinary Technician Degree
How to Choose the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Fairhope AL might initially feel like an overwhelming task. But to be successful as a working veterinary technician, you must first search for and ultimately enroll in a program that will provide the necessary education and training. But just how do you go about reviewing and comparing schools so that you can make the ideal selection? When looking for vet tech schools, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found some local colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are significant concerns when comparing vet tech programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician schools you are considering before you make an ultimate decision. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various responsibilities of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Tech Degree Options
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the principal determiner will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of tasks that they can perform within the Fairhope AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the conventional vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice 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 techs in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their regular 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 with assistants and normally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complicated duties, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and essentially carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. Therefore the main 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 additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Fairhope AL labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Fairhope AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for instance for commuting and study supplies, may be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician program may be the perfect choice for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you want to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Fairhope AL area and across the Country, you should ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you need to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, 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 rigorous review process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a requirement for employment for many Fairhope AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet college or trade school 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 reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with online school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Fairhope AL veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest some programs 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 setting. Find out if the colleges you are considering have internship programs arranged with Fairhope AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help build relationships in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A lower rate might suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the school has an excellent reputation within the Fairhope AL vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairhope AL programs you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Fairhope AL home, you need to make sure that the commuting time fits into 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, especially if the college is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's important that you find out if the vet colleges you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Fairhope AL. Some might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of sickness, work or family issues. You may find that an online college is the best way to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Chosse the Best Fairhope Veterinary Technologist Program
Selecting the right veterinary technician school is an important first step to starting a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Potential students looking into vet tech schools must make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Fairhope Alabama.