How to Find the Right Veterinary Technician College Near Alabaster Alabama
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Alabaster AL might initially seem like a challenging task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a school that will deliver the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about evaluating and contrasting programs so that you can make the right choice? Many future students start their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their homes. When they have identified some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are significant concerns when comparing vet technician schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are reviewing before you make an ultimate choice. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the different responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Alabaster AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical vet practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their typical responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared to assistants and typically earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex duties, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. A number may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Alabaster AL labs or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An approach that may be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using various methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Alabaster AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, such as for traveling and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the perfect option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have selected which veterinary credential 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 vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Alabaster AL area and across the Country, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you choose 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 undergone a rigorous review process that confirms you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Alabaster AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations involving your specific schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Alabaster AL veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Alabaster AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help build associations in the local vet community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A low rate could signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Alabaster AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not highly regarded 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 may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Alabaster AL colleges you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Get evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Alabaster AL home, you need to confirm 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 campus is located in or near a larger 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 higher tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you find out if the veterinary schools you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Alabaster AL. Others might only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm 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 because of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You may find that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Alabaster Vet Technologist School
Selecting the right veterinary technician program is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students considering veterinary technician colleges must make their selection based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the ideal program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Alabaster Alabama.