Veterinary Technician Degree Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Huntsville Alabama
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Huntsville AL to achieve your passionate desire to help and provide medical treatment for our pets might from the start feel like an overwhelming task. But to be successful as a working veterinary technician, you must first locate and ultimately enroll in a school that will provide the necessary training and education. And so that you pick the best one you must research and compare each of the schools you are considering. Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their homes. When they have identified some local schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you must carry out your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the programs you are assessing. We have provided 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 alternatives available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Tech Training Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are many tasks that they can carry out within the Huntsville AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can 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 law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training in contrast to assistants and generally earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are included in more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically 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 career opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Huntsville AL labs or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinarian school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Huntsville AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, such as for travel and study materials, may be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just confirm that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online vet tech school may be the perfect choice for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
At this point you should have determined which veterinary degree that you would like to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Huntsville AL area as well as across the United States, you should ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other important qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a program that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the vet tech program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously stated, 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 confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a requirement for employment for many Huntsville AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with internet 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 infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, call some Huntsville AL veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with Huntsville AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local veterinary community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate might signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Huntsville AL veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could signify that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you may receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Huntsville AL colleges you are looking at what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Huntsville AL home, you need to make certain that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the campus is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's imperative that you ascertain if the veterinary schools you are considering 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 Huntsville AL. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are offered before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to sickness, work or family issues. You may find that an online college is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Chosse the Right Huntsville Veterinary Technologist School
Enrolling in the right vet tech program is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students thinking about veterinary technician colleges need to make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the best college, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Huntsville Alabama.