Vet Technician College
How to Choose the Best One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech program near Flagstaff AZ may at first feel like an overwhelming endeavor. But to be successful as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first locate and ultimately enroll in a program that will provide the required training and education. And in order to pick the right one you must evaluate and compare all of the schools you are considering. When checking out vet tech programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes. Once they have found some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important considerations when evaluating vet technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the programs you are evaluating. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the varied roles of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
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Vet Tech Education Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the primary factor will probably be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the typical vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances 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 performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more involved undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training in contrast to assistants and generally obtain a 2 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 general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years to complete. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may 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 Flagstaff AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An option that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are provided through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Flagstaff AZ veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, for instance for commuting and study supplies, can be lower compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just be sure that the program that you select 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 disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician program may be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you want to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ area and across the Country, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to select a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you verify that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously 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 a demanding review process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a prerequisite for employment for many Flagstaff AZ area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final pointer, phone some Flagstaff AZ veterinary 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 suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Flagstaff AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A lower rate may indicate that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might signify that the training is not highly 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 probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Flagstaff AZ programs you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we already 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 Flagstaff AZ home, you have to confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located in or close by a larger city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinary programs you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Flagstaff AZ. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family issues. You may discover that an online school is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Flagstaff Vet Technologist College
Picking the right veterinary technician program is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students considering vet tech colleges must make their determination based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions included 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 selecting the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Flagstaff Arizona.