Veterinary Technician College
How to Find the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Fairbanks AK to fulfill your lifelong goal to help and provide medical treatment for animals might from the start seem like an overwhelming task. But in order to succeed as a working veterinary technician, you need to first locate and finally enroll in a program that will provide the required education and training. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the proper selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their residences. After they have located some area colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are significant concerns when assessing vet technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated also. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the programs you are examining. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the varied roles of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
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Vet Tech Training Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Fairbanks AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work exclusive of the typical veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, 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. Generally they are not involved with more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic 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 surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years. So 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 job opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may receive 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 option that may be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can typically be completed 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 some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, such as for travel and study materials, can be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just confirm that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician school may be the perfect choice for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Schools
By now you should have determined which veterinary credential that you wish to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Fairbanks AK area and across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive review process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is often a requirement for employment for many Fairbanks AK area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, contact some Fairbanks AK veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. 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 professional environment. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Fairbanks AK veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it by means of 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 aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate could mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might signify that the college has an excellent reputation within the Fairbanks AK veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Fairbanks AK programs you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Fairbanks AK home, you need to make certain that the commuting time fits into 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 school is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's imperative that you ascertain if the vet schools you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Fairbanks AK. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies. You may find that an online program is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks Veterinary Technologist School
Enrolling in the ideal veterinary technician college is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their selection based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Fairbanks Alaska.