Vet Technician Training Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
Finding a veterinary technician school near Juneau AK to achieve your passionate goal to help and care for animals may from the start feel like an overwhelming challenge. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will provide the necessary training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you can make the right selection? When checking out vet tech programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes. After they have located some area colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant factors when evaluating vet tech programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the vet technician schools you are evaluating before you make an ultimate selection. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
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Vet Tech Education Options
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous functions that they can carry out within the Juneau AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared to assistants and usually obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complex activities, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years to complete. 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 possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Juneau AK laboratories or research facilities also.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you want to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Juneau AK area and across the Country, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive screening process that ensures you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for many Juneau AK area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you choose should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school ranking 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 violations relating to your specific schools. As a final tip, contact some Juneau AK veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs established with Juneau AK veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local vet community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate may indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could indicate that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Juneau AK vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Juneau AK colleges you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Juneau AK home, you need to confirm that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the campus is located in or near a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you find out if the veterinary programs you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Juneau AK. Some might only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family emergencies. You may find that an online school is the best way to fit your vet training into your active life.
Enroll in the Best Juneau Vet Technologist School
Enrolling in the right veterinary technician program is a crucial first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the best program, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Juneau Alaska.