Veterinary Technician School
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
Achieving your long term goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Prattville AL might initially feel like a daunting undertaking. But to be successful as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first locate and finally enroll in a school that will provide the necessary training and education. And so that you pick the best one you must evaluate and compare all of the schools you have placed on your short list. Many future students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their homes. Once they have located some area schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant factors when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are not the only important ones when making your comparisons. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are reviewing. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
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Vet Technician Training Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the primary factor will most likely be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many jobs that they can perform within the Prattville AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared with assistants and usually obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex duties, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years. So the main distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia 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 Vet Tech Programs Available
An option that might be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are made available through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be carried out 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 many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, for example for commuting and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just confirm 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 included for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinarian credential that you would like to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Prattville AL area as well as across the United States, you should ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our opening, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive review process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a requirement for employment for a number of Prattville AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with internet school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final suggestion, contact some Prattville AL vet clinics that you may want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Prattville AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish associations in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A lower rate might signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might indicate that the school has an excellent reputation within the Prattville AL veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you most likely will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prattville AL colleges you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Prattville AL home, you must make certain that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, 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 close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do choose to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending online classes might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the vet programs you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, 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 attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online college is the best way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Prattville Vet Technologist Program
Picking the ideal vet tech college is an important first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students looking into vet tech schools must make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the right college, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Prattville Alabama.