Veterinary Technician College
How to Select the Right One Near Montgomery Alabama
Realizing your long term dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Montgomery AL may initially seem like a challenging undertaking. After all, you must find and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle analyzing and comparing schools so that you can make the right selection? When checking out vet tech programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes. After they have located some area schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are not the only important 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 point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician schools you are considering before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the varied responsibilities of vet techs and the training options available.
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Vet Tech Education Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they both work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous duties that they can perform within the Montgomery AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training in contrast to assistants and typically 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 basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complicated functions, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia 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 also.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you should have selected which veterinary credential that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to enroll in a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive review process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited programs. 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 trade school and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations concerning your targeted schools. As a final pointer, get in touch with some Montgomery AL veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They might even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Montgomery AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A low rate may suggest that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the school has an excellent reputation within the Montgomery AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could mean that the training is not well 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 receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Montgomery AL colleges you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback from students relating to 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 College Located? Of course, we already talked about location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Montgomery AL home, you have to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or close by a large city. In addition, 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 charges especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you determine if the veterinary colleges you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Montgomery AL. Others may only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your busy life.
Chosse the Right Montgomery Vet Technologist School
Enrolling in the right veterinary technician program is an important first step to beginning a gratifying career providing care and treatment for animals. Potential students thinking about vet tech schools must make their selection based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Montgomery Alabama.