Vet Technician Training Program
How to Select the Right One Near Florence Alabama
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Florence AL to achieve your passionate desire to help and provide medical treatment for animals may initially feel like an enormous task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a college that will provide the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about evaluating and contrasting schools so that you can make the correct selection? Many future students launch their due diligence process by looking for schools that are close to their homes. Once they have found some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant factors when comparing vet technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated also. The main point is that before making a selection, you must finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different roles of vet techs and the training options available.
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Vet Tech Education Options
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialization interests 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 even though there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Florence AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances 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 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. Generally they are not associated with more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and usually earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may 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 Florence AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you should have determined which veterinary credential that you wish to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Florence AL area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously touched on other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the vet tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous review process that confirms you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Florence AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you choose should have an excellent reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with internet school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Florence AL vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. 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 clinical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help establish relationships in the local vet community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A low rate might suggest that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Florence AL vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AL schools you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students concerning 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 few more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Florence AL home, you need to make certain 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 commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located near or in a large 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 might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you ascertain if the veterinary colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Florence AL. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Florence Veterinary Technologist College
Enrolling in the right vet tech college is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for animals. Students thinking about vet tech colleges need to make their decision 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 assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the best program, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Florence Alabama.