Vet Technician Degree Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Anchorage Alaska
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Anchorage AK could initially seem like a challenging task. But in order to succeed as a working veterinary technician, you must first locate and ultimately enroll in a school that will provide the required education and training. And so that you pick the right one you must evaluate and compare each of the schools you are considering. When looking for vet tech programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes. After they have identified some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are significant factors when assessing vet technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be looked into as well. The bottom line is that before making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the programs you are evaluating. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the varied roles of vet techs and the training options offered.
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Vet Tech Training Options
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many functions that they can perform within the Anchorage AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work exclusive of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and normally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and essentially perform the same job functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. A number may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Anchorage AK labs or research facilities also.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Anchorage AK area and across the Country, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many potential students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the vet tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough review process that confirms you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for many Anchorage AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you choose must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations concerning your specific schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Anchorage AK veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with Anchorage AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Searching for 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 signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Anchorage AK veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may signify that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anchorage AK programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are a few more points to make on the topic. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Anchorage AK home, you need to confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinary programs you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Anchorage AK. Others might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss because of work, sickness or family issues. You might find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your vet training into your active life.
Chosse the Best Anchorage Vet Technologist College
Selecting the right vet tech college is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for animals. Students considering veterinary technician colleges need to make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the right program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Anchorage Alaska.