Veterinary Technician Degree Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Apache Junction Arizona
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Apache Junction AZ to achieve your passionate desire to help and care for our pets might from the start feel like an enormous challenge. After all, you must search for and enroll in a school that will provide the proper training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. And so that you pick the best one you must evaluate and compare all of the schools you have placed on your short list. Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their residences. When they have located some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when comparing vet technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. The bottom line is that prior to making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the programs you are assessing. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the various duties of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
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Vet Technician Education Options
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the principal factor will probably be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous jobs that they can perform within the Apache Junction AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved activities, for example assisting with surgeries. Some of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared to assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent 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 involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years. So 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, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Apache Junction AZ labs or research facilities also.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you should have determined which veterinarian degree that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Apache Junction AZ area and across the Country, you should ask some relevant questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other essential qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that confirms you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a requirement for employment for a number of Apache Junction AZ area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with internet school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, call some Apache Junction AZ vet clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Apache Junction AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local vet community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A low rate might suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Apache Junction AZ vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Apache Junction AZ programs you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations 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 Campus Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are several more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Apache Junction AZ home, you must make certain that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or near a larger 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 increased tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. Of course attending classes online may be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Apache Junction AZ. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to sickness, work or family responsibilities. You might find that an online college is the best way to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Apache Junction Vet Technologist Program
Choosing the right vet tech school is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students considering veterinary technician 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 tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the ideal school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Apache Junction Arizona.