Veterinary Technician College
How to Find the Best One Near Fairbanks Alaska
Finding a veterinary technician school near Fairbanks AK to fulfill your heartfelt goal to work with and care for animals may from the start feel like an enormous task. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. And so that you pick the best one you must research and compare each of the schools you have placed on your short list. When looking for vet tech schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified some area schools, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are significant considerations when comparing vet technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are considering before you make a final decision. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
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Vet Tech Degree Options
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you desire to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can perform within the Fairbanks AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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. Usually they are not associated with more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training in contrast to assistants and usually obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved activities, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination 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 earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes four years to complete. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Fairbanks AK labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered via the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Fairbanks AK veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, such as for commuting and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just be sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the right choice for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
By now you probably have decided on which veterinarian degree that you want to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Fairbanks AK area as well as across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the vet tech school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous review process that ensures you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for many Fairbanks AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on 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 infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Fairbanks AK veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs set up with Fairbanks AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate may mean that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were unhappy 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 could mean that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Fairbanks AK veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairbanks AK programs you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to participate in a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we already talked about location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Fairbanks AK home, you must confirm 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, especially if the school is located close by or within a large city. Also, 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 fees especially for state and community colleges. Of course taking classes online could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's imperative that you determine if the vet programs you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Fairbanks AK. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online college is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Chosse the Right Fairbanks Vet Technologist College
Choosing the appropriate vet tech college is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Potential students thinking about vet tech colleges need to make their decision based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the best college, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Fairbanks Alaska.