Vet Technician Degree Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Gilbert Arizona
Finding a veterinary technician school near Gilbert AZ to fulfill your heartfelt goal to help and provide medical treatment for our pets may from the start seem like an overwhelming challenge. After all, you need to find and enroll in a school that will deliver the proper training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about assessing and comparing programs so that you can make the best choice? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their residences. When they have located some area schools, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. The main point is that prior to making a selection, you need to complete your due diligence and compare all relevant qualifications of the programs you are assessing. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the varied roles of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
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Vet Tech Degree Options
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you want to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many functions that they can perform within the Gilbert AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the conventional vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a vocational 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. Normally they are not associated with more complex activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared to assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years. Therefore the main difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Gilbert AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary degree that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Gilbert AZ area and across the Country, you must ask some relevant questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many potential students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other important qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough screening process that verifies you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for many Gilbert AZ area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you enroll in must have an exceptional reputation within the vet community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final tip, phone some Gilbert AZ veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They might even recommend one or more 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 programs you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Gilbert AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate could indicate that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Gilbert AZ veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Gilbert AZ programs you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out 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 few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Gilbert AZ home, you need to confirm that the commuting 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 school is located in or close by a large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online may be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinary programs you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Gilbert AZ. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are available before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Veterinary Technologist College
Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician college is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students thinking about veterinary technician schools need to make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you enroll in 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 included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the ideal school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Gilbert Arizona.