Vet Technician Program
How to Select the Right One Near Florence Alabama
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Florence AL to achieve your heartfelt goal to work with and care for our pets might initially feel like an overwhelming task. But in order to succeed as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first search for and ultimately enroll in a school that will provide the necessary training and education. But just how do you go about assessing and comparing schools so that you can make the right selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have found some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when evaluating veterinary technician schools, they are not the only important ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered also. The bottom line is that before making a selection, you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are reviewing. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Technician Training Options
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization interests 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 although there are a number of tasks that they can perform within the Florence AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have gone through a structured 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 vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared to assistants and generally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years to complete. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Florence AL laboratories or research facilities also.
What to Ask Vet Tech Schools
At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian degree that you would like to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Florence AL area and across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to enroll in a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the vet tech program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding screening process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable 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 Florence AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online 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 grievances or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, contact some Florence AL veterinarians that you may want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest one or more 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 colleges you are considering have internship programs established with Florence AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help build associations in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A low rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could signify that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Florence AL veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could 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 most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Florence AL schools you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Florence AL home, you have to confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located near or in a larger 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 increased tuition charges particularly for state and community colleges. Of course taking online classes may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Florence 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 offered prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family issues. You may find that an online school is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Florence Vet Technologist Program
Picking the ideal veterinary technician program is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into veterinary technician schools need to make their selection based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the best school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Florence Alabama.