Veterinary Technician Degree Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Prichard Alabama
Fulfilling your long term aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Prichard AL may initially feel like a challenging undertaking. But to be successful 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 approach evaluating and contrasting schools so that you can make the right choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have located some nearby schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are significant considerations when evaluating vet technician schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be looked into also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate selection. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various duties of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Technician Degree Options
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary 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 education, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous duties that they can carry out within the Prichard AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the conventional veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. 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 involved with more complex undertakings, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and normally acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex activities, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and essentially carry out the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years to complete. 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 opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Prichard AL labs or research facilities also.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you want to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Prichard AL area and across the United States, you must ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough screening process that confirms you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is often a precondition for employment for a number of Prichard AL area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations regarding your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Prichard AL veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some programs 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 professional environment. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Prichard AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A lower rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the college has an excellent reputation within the Prichard AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Prichard AL programs you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Prichard AL home, you need to 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 drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school 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 taking classes online could be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you determine if the veterinarian programs you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Prichard AL. Others might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online college is the best way to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Chosse the Best Prichard Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech school is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet tech programs must make their selection based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative 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 assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the right college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Prichard Alabama.