Veterinary Technician Degree Program
How to Select the Right One Near Prescott Arizona
Realizing your lifelong dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Prescott AZ could initially seem like a daunting endeavor. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will deliver the appropriate training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. And in order to pick the best one you must evaluate and compare each of the schools you are considering. When checking out vet tech programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes. When they have located some area schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important considerations when evaluating vet tech programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet tech programs you are considering before you make a final decision. We have furnished several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
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Vet Technician Education Options
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous duties that they can carry out within the Prescott AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training in contrast to assistants and typically acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complex functions, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years to complete. So the only real distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Prescott AZ labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Schools Offered
An alternative that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Prescott AZ veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, such as for traveling and study materials, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just confirm that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician school may be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
By now you should have determined which veterinary credential that you wish to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Prescott AZ area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to enroll in a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's essential 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 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 ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a precondition for employment for many Prescott AZ area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you select should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on online school rating websites and checking 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 recommendation, contact some Prescott AZ veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with Prescott AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the clinical training, but an internship may also help build relationships in the local veterinary community and assist 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 may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A low rate could indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Prescott AZ veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Prescott AZ programs you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations 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 already talked about location, but there are several more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Prescott AZ home, you need to confirm 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, especially if the campus is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinarian programs you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Prescott AZ. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to sickness, work or family emergencies. You may discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Chosse the Best Prescott Veterinary Technologist Program
Selecting the ideal vet tech program is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students considering vet tech schools must make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Prescott Arizona.