IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Technician Education Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary factor will probably 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 while there are many tasks that they can carry out within the Alabama veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases 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 trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and generally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated 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 Alabama laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Schools Available
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Alabama veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, such as for travel and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech program may be the perfect choice for you.