Veterinary Technician Program
How to Select the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Fulfilling your long term aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Anchorage AK could initially seem like an overwhelming task. But in order to succeed as a practicing veterinary technician, you must first search for and finally enroll in a program that will provide the necessary education and training. But just how do you go about analyzing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the best choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have found some area schools, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered also. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you need to finish your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the schools you are examining. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the different roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Technician Degree Options
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a vet 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 training, but the main factor will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many tasks that they can perform within the Anchorage AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work exclusive of the conventional vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of 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 vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared to assistants and usually obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires 4 years. 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, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Anchorage AK labs or research facilities also.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you should have selected which veterinarian credential that you would like to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Anchorage AK area and across the USA, you should ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, 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 thorough screening process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is in many cases a requirement for employment for many Anchorage AK area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Anchorage AK veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They might even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Anchorage AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop connections in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be challenging 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 suggest that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Anchorage AK vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not highly 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 may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Anchorage AK schools you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Anchorage AK home, you have to make certain that the commuting time is compatible with 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 in or near a larger city. In addition, if you do choose to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Anchorage AK. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss because of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You may find that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Anchorage Vet Technologist School
Enrolling in the right vet tech college is an important first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into vet tech programs need to make their determination based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the best school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Anchorage Alaska.