Veterinary Technician College
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Sylacauga Alabama
Achieving your long term goal of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Sylacauga AL could initially feel like an overwhelming undertaking. But to be successful as a working veterinary technician, you must first locate and ultimately enroll in a program that will provide the required training and education. But just how do you approach reviewing and comparing colleges so that you can make the best selection? When checking out vet tech schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified some local schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when comparing vet tech schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. The main point is that before making a selection, you need to finish your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the varied duties of vet techs and the training options available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Tech Training Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you wish to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are a number of tasks that they can carry out within the Sylacauga AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the standard veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared to assistants and generally acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Sylacauga AL laboratories or research facilities also.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Sylacauga AL area as well as across the Country, you should ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already touched on other significant qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you need to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech colleges that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the vet tech college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding review process that verifies you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a prerequisite for employment for many Sylacauga AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Sylacauga AL veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Sylacauga AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local vet community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A lower rate could indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach 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 placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might signify that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Sylacauga AL veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could indicate that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you most likely will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Sylacauga AL colleges you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we already covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Sylacauga AL home, you have to make sure that the driving time fits into 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 campus is located near or in a large city. In addition, if you do choose to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes might be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's important that you ascertain if the veterinary colleges you are looking at 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 at night near Sylacauga AL. Some might only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You might find that an online program is the best solution to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Sylacauga Veterinary Technologist Program
Selecting the right veterinary technician college is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Students looking into vet tech schools must make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Sylacauga Alabama.