Veterinary Technician Degree Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Florence Arizona
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Florence AZ might at first feel like a daunting 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 necessary education and training. And in order to pick the best one you must evaluate and compare each of the schools you are considering. When looking for vet tech schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes. When they have located some local colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when evaluating veterinary technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. The main point is that before making a selection, you must carry out your due diligence and compare all relevant aspects of the schools you are evaluating. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
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Vet Tech Degree Options
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous duties that they can perform within the Florence AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their typical responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared to assistants and normally 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 basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years to complete. Therefore the main 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, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Florence AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An option that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are made available over the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Florence AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for instance for travel and study supplies, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just confirm that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinarian degree that you wish to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Florence AZ area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are considering.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding screening process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Florence AZ area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary 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 interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final tip, phone some Florence AZ vet clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Florence AZ veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop relationships in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program 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 considering. A lower rate might indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the college has an excellent reputation within the Florence AZ vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Florence AZ colleges you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for evaluations from students regarding 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 College Located? Of course, we already talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Florence AZ home, you must make sure that the driving time is compatible with 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 college is located in or near a large city. Also, if you do choose to attend a school 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 taking classes online could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you find out if the veterinarian schools you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Florence AZ. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of work, sickness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Florence Vet Technologist School
Choosing the appropriate vet tech college is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Potential students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you enroll in 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 included 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 picking the ideal college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Florence Arizona.