Vet Technician College
How to Choose the Right One Near Opelika Alabama
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Opelika AL could initially seem like an overwhelming task. But in order to succeed as a working veterinary technician, you must first search for and finally enroll in a program that will provide the required training and education. But just how do you go about evaluating and contrasting programs so that you can make the correct choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their residences. Once they have identified some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant concerns when comparing vet technician schools, they are not the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into also. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the vet technician schools you are looking at before you make a final choice. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the various responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
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Vet Tech Training Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous duties that they can carry out within the Opelika AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the typical vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice 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 activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared with assistants and generally earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more involved activities, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years to complete. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Opelika AL labs or research facilities as well.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you wish to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Opelika AL area and across the United States, you need to ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough review process that verifies 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 offered for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a precondition for employment for many Opelika AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Opelika AL veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the schools you are considering have internship programs arranged with Opelika AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A low rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Opelika AL veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not well thought of 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 may receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Opelika AL programs you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to attend a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Opelika AL home, you need to confirm that the commuting time fits into 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 near or in a large city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the vet programs you are exploring offer class times flexible enough 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 Opelika AL. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet training into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Opelika Veterinary Technologist School
Picking the right vet tech program is an important first step to starting a rewarding career providing care and treatment for animals. Potential students considering vet tech schools need to make their selection based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the right program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Opelika Alabama.