Veterinary Technician College
How to Select the Best One Near Oro Valley Arizona
Realizing your long term goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Oro Valley AZ may initially feel like a challenging endeavor. But to be successful as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first search for and ultimately enroll in a school that will provide the required education and training. But just how do you go about reviewing and comparing colleges so that you can make the ideal choice? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their residences. Once they have identified some nearby schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant factors when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your evaluations. 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 need to finish your due diligence and compare all important aspects of the schools you are assessing. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different duties of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
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Vet Tech Education Options
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Oro Valley AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the conventional vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from 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 completion of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complex activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared to assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years to complete. 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 job opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Oro Valley AZ labs or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Oro Valley AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for example for travel and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you want to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Oro Valley AZ area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the veterinary technician college 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). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive screening process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is frequently a precondition for employment for many Oro Valley AZ area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you enroll in must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with online school rating 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 violations concerning your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Oro Valley AZ vet clinics that you might want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend one or more programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the schools you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Oro Valley AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech 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 may signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Oro Valley AZ veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not highly 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 sized, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Oro Valley AZ colleges you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Okay, we previously covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Oro Valley AZ home, you have to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do opt to attend 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 attending online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's essential that you find out 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 Oro Valley AZ. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of work, sickness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online college is the best way to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Oro Valley Vet Technologist School
Picking the appropriate vet tech program is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students considering veterinary technician schools must make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online 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 choice. And by choosing the best school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Oro Valley Arizona.