Veterinary Technician Training Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Prattville Alabama
Achieving your long term dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Prattville AL could initially seem like a daunting task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a school that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. And in order to pick the right one you must evaluate and compare all of the schools you have placed on your short list. When looking for vet tech programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes. Once they have located some area schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important concerns when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The main point is that before making a selection, you must carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the programs you are examining. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the different responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
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Vet Tech Education Options
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of jobs that they can perform within the Prattville AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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 performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complex undertakings, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training in contrast to assistants and usually obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and essentially carry out the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes four years. So the main distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Prattville AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Veterinary Technician Schools Available
An option that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided through the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Prattville AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for instance for travel and study supplies, may be cheaper compared to more standard classroom programs. Just confirm that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. 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 manner, an online vet tech program may be the perfect option for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you probably have determined which veterinary degree that you want to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Prattville AL area and across the USA, you must ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to select a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough review process that verifies you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Prattville AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you select must have an outstanding reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Prattville AL veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the schools you are considering have internship programs set up with Prattville AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local vet community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate might suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Prattville AL vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might 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 personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Prattville AL colleges you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Prattville AL home, you have to make certain that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college 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 increased tuition costs especially for state and community colleges. Of course taking classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian programs you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Prattville AL. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family issues. You may find that an online college is the best way to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Prattville Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech college is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Future students looking into veterinary technician programs need to make their decision based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final decision. And by picking the ideal program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Prattville Alabama.