Veterinary Technician Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Phoenix Arizona
Choosing a veterinary technician school near Phoenix AZ to achieve your lifelong desire to help and care for animals might initially seem like an enormous challenge. But in order to succeed as a practicing veterinary technician, you need to first locate and ultimately enroll in a program that will provide the required training and education. And in order to pick the right one you must research and compare each of the schools you are considering. When checking out vet tech programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes. When they have found some nearby schools, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant considerations when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. The bottom line is that before making a selection, you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the varied duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR VET TECH CAREER BELOW
Vet Technician Training Options
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary factor will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Phoenix AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the conventional veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared to assistants and generally acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated functions, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years to complete. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Phoenix AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinary degree that you want to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Phoenix AZ area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some relevant questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the veterinary technician college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive review process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a precondition for employment for a number of Phoenix AZ area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on online school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, contact some Phoenix AZ vet clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs set up with Phoenix AZ veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help build relationships in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A lower rate may signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might signify that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Phoenix AZ veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may indicate that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Phoenix AZ programs you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Phoenix AZ home, you need to make sure that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the campus is located in or near a large 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 higher tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. Of course taking classes online might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you find out if the vet colleges you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Phoenix AZ. Others might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies. You may find that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.
Chosse the Right Phoenix Veterinary Technologist School
Picking the appropriate vet tech school is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students thinking about vet tech programs must make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online 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 choice. And by choosing the right program, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Phoenix Arizona.