Vet Technician Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Trussville Alabama
Realizing your lifelong dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Trussville AL could initially seem like an overwhelming task. But in order to succeed as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first locate and ultimately enroll in a program that will provide the necessary training and education. But just how do you go about analyzing and contrasting programs so that you can make the best choice? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their residences. When they have located some area schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when comparing vet technician schools, they are not the only important 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 point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make an ultimate selection. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the various responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
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Vet Technician Education Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal factor will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can perform within the Trussville AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have undergone 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 techs in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get 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 equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Trussville AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Available
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Trussville AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for instance for traveling and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you should have determined which veterinary credential that you want to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Trussville AL area and across the USA, you should ask some relevant questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive review process that ensures you will obtain 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 degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a requirement for employment for a number of Trussville AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary community. 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 looking on 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 complaints or infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Trussville AL veterinarians that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs set up with Trussville AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop relationships in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate could signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could signify that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Trussville AL veterinary community and has a significant 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 larger sized, you probably will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Trussville AL colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Trussville AL home, you have to make sure 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, especially if the college is located in or close by a large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for state and community colleges. Of course taking classes online could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you find out if the vet colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Trussville AL. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family issues. You might discover that an online program is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Chosse the Right Trussville Veterinary Technologist Program
Selecting the right veterinary technician school is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Potential students looking into vet tech colleges must make their selection based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions included 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 choosing the best program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Trussville Alabama.