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Vet Tech Education Options
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous jobs that they can carry out within the Alaska veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the conventional veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing 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. Usually they are not associated with more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared with assistants and normally acquire a two 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 basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Alaska laboratories or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Available
An approach that may be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Alaska veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for instance for travel and study materials, may be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online vet tech program may be the right choice for you.