How to Find the Best Vet Tech School Near Alexander City Alabama
Fulfilling your lifelong dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech program near Alexander City AL may at first seem like a daunting task. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle assessing and comparing programs so that you can make the correct selection? Many future students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their homes. Once they have found some local schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant concerns when assessing vet technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate selection. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the varied duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in 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 immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Alexander City AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complex undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training in contrast to assistants and usually obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires four 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 career options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Alexander City AL labs or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An alternative that may be a solution 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 provided via the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Alexander City AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for example for commuting and study materials, may be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online vet tech program may be the perfect choice for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
By now you should have decided on which veterinarian degree that you would like to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Alexander City AL area and across the Country, you need to ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the vet tech school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of 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 get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Alexander City AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college 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 references from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Alexander City AL vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even suggest some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the colleges you are considering have internship programs established with Alexander City AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate may mean that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Alexander City AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not well 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 in size, you may get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Alexander City AL schools you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Alexander City AL home, you must confirm that the commuting time fits into 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, particularly if the college is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do choose to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. Of course taking classes online might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you determine if the vet schools you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Alexander City AL. Some might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.
Choose the Best Alexander City Vet Technologist Program
Choosing the ideal veterinary technician college is an important first step to beginning a gratifying career providing care and treatment for animals. Potential students considering veterinary technician schools must make their selection based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the ideal college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Alexander City Alabama.