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Vet Tech Training Options
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the main factor will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are many duties that they can perform within the Wyoming veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the typical vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have gone through a formal 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 technicians in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared to assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally 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 differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved duties, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years to complete. 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 exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Wyoming labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Schools Available
An approach that may make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Wyoming veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, such as for traveling and study materials, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online vet tech program may be the ideal choice for you.