Vet Technician Degree
How to Choose the Best One Near Montgomery Alabama
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Montgomery AL may at first seem like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you must locate and enroll in a program that will furnish the necessary training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. 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 campuses that are close to their homes. After they have found some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. The bottom line is that prior to making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the programs you are reviewing. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different duties of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
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Vet Tech Education Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the main factor will probably be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are numerous functions that they can carry out within the Montgomery AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared to assistants and generally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex functions, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Montgomery AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Available
An option that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available through the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Montgomery AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, such as for commuting and study supplies, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online veterinary technician program may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Schools
At this point you probably have selected which veterinarian credential that you want to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area and across the USA, you need to ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other important qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to select a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough review process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for many Montgomery AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Montgomery AL vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Montgomery AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help build relationships in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A lower rate could signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Montgomery AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could indicate that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Montgomery AL schools you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Montgomery AL home, you must confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you find out if the veterinarian schools you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Montgomery AL. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of work, sickness or family issues. You may discover that an online program is the best way to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Montgomery Vet Technologist College
Selecting the ideal vet tech program is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students considering vet tech programs need to make their determination based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the right school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Montgomery Alabama.