Veterinary Technician School
How to Select the Right One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Finding a veterinary technician school near Flagstaff AZ to achieve your passionate goal to help and care for our pets might from the start seem like an overwhelming challenge. But in order to succeed as a working veterinary technician, you must first locate and finally enroll in a school that will provide the necessary education and training. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the best choice? When looking for vet tech programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes. When they have located some local colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant considerations when assessing vet tech programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. The bottom line is that before making a selection, you must complete your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the programs you are reviewing. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Tech Education Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the main factor will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are a number of tasks that they can carry out within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared to assistants and normally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires 4 years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent 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.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary degree that you wish to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ area as well as across the United States, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many potential students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to choose 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 need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough screening process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a precondition for employment for a number of Flagstaff AZ area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the programs you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Flagstaff AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A low rate could indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could mean that the program has an excellent reputation within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could signify that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ schools you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Get evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Flagstaff AZ home, you need to make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes might be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you find out if the veterinary colleges you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Flagstaff AZ. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family issues. You may find that an online school is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Flagstaff Veterinary Technologist Program
Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for animals. Future students considering veterinary technician programs must make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the right program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Flagstaff Arizona.