Veterinary Technician Training
How to Find the Right One Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Finding a veterinary technician school near Tuscaloosa AL to achieve your heartfelt desire to work with and care for our pets may initially feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you must locate and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the correct selection? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their residences. When they have located some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant considerations when comparing veterinary technician schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate selection. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Tech Degree Options
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary factor will probably be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are a number of tasks that they can perform within the Tuscaloosa AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the typical vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complex undertakings, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared to assistants and usually earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex activities, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required 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. A number may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
By now you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you would like to obtain, and if you want 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 Tuscaloosa AL area and across the United States, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other essential qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are looking at.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a demanding review process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Tuscaloosa AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions involving your specific schools. As a final pointer, get in touch with some Tuscaloosa AL vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They might even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective means to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the colleges you are considering have internship programs set up with Tuscaloosa AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local vet community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A low rate may suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may signify that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could signify that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tuscaloosa AL programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Tuscaloosa AL home, you need to make sure that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located in or close by a larger city. Also, if you do opt to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. Of course taking online classes could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's imperative that you find out if the veterinary schools you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Tuscaloosa AL. Others may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are offered before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies. You might find that an online college is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Chosse the Best Tuscaloosa Vet Technologist College
Picking the ideal vet tech program is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for animals. Future students thinking about vet tech schools need to make their determination based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. 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 choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Tuscaloosa Alabama.