How to Enroll In the Right Veterinary Technician School Near Athens Alabama
Realizing your long term aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech college near Athens AL may at first seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a college that will deliver the proper training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the best selection? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have found some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant concerns when comparing vet tech schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician schools you are reviewing before you make a final selection. We have presented several within 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
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the principal factor will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many duties that they can perform within the Athens AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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 completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated undertakings, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared with assistants and usually obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more involved duties, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Athens AL labs or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using various methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Athens AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for instance for travel and study materials, may be lower compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school 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 provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online vet tech program may be the perfect choice for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary degree that you would like to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Athens AL area as well as across the Country, you must ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is frequently a requirement for employment for many Athens AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with internet school rating 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 concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Athens AL veterinarians that you might want to work for after you go through 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 get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Athens AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A lower rate may indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could mean that the program has an excellent reputation within the Athens AL veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might signify that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Athens AL colleges you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Athens AL home, you have to make certain 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 campus is located in or close by a large 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 increased tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. Of course taking online classes might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinary schools you are evaluating 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 Athens AL. Some may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Choose the Best Athens Veterinary Technologist Program
Picking the appropriate vet tech program is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their determination based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Athens Alabama.