Veterinary Technician Degree
How to Pick the Best One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Realizing your long term aspiration of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Flagstaff AZ could initially feel like a challenging task. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the right selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are close to their residences. Once they have found some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important factors when evaluating vet technician schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be looked into also. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician schools you are considering before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
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Vet Technician Degree Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured 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 technicians in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complex tasks, 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 examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared with assistants and normally obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years. So the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary 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 Flagstaff AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An option that may make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, such as for traveling and study supplies, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online vet tech program may be the right choice for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you should have decided on which veterinary credential that you would like to obtain, 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 Flagstaff AZ area and across the United States, you must ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other important qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to select a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough screening process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a requirement for employment for a number of Flagstaff AZ area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you choose must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs established with Flagstaff AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local vet community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A lower rate might signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were unhappy 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 higher placement rate might indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Flagstaff AZ veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Flagstaff AZ programs you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Flagstaff AZ home, you need to make certain 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, especially if the school is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. Of course taking classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Flagstaff AZ. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to sickness, work or family issues. You might find that an online school is the ideal way to fit your vet education into your active life.
Chosse the Right Flagstaff Veterinary Technologist Program
Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician school is an important first step to starting a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students looking into veterinary technician schools must make their selection based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Flagstaff Arizona.