Veterinary Technician Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Lake Havasu City AZ to fulfill your passionate goal to help and provide medical treatment for animals may initially seem like an overwhelming challenge. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you go about reviewing and comparing programs so that you can make the proper selection? When checking out vet tech programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified some area colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when assessing vet technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated also. The bottom line is that before making a selection, you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent aspects of the schools you are evaluating. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
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Vet Technician Training Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are numerous duties that they can carry out within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have completed a formal 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 vets and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more involved activities, for example assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and normally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes four years to complete. So 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 possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Lake Havasu City AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you probably have decided on which veterinarian credential that you wish to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area as well as across the United States, you need to ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other essential qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, 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 thorough review process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a requirement for employment for many Lake Havasu City AZ area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with online 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 complaints or violations relating to your targeted schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective means to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help develop connections in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A lower rate might indicate that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you most likely will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Lake Havasu City AZ programs you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Get evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Lake Havasu City AZ home, you must make certain that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending online classes might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the vet schools you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Lake Havasu City AZ. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss due to work, sickness or family issues. You might discover that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the ideal vet tech program is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Students thinking about veterinary technician schools must make their selection based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients 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 field. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the best college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.