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How to Enroll In the Right Vet Tech School Near Athens Alabama

Athens Alabama veterinary technician calming anxious dogFulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Athens AL might initially seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you must find and enroll in a program that will deliver the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing colleges so that you can make the best selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their homes. Once they have located some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant considerations when evaluating veterinary technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be looked into as well. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make a final decision. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the various responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Athens Alabama vet technician checking kittens

Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are numerous jobs that they can perform within the Athens AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the conventional vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.

  • Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a structured 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 techs in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complex undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
  • Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training in contrast to assistants and usually earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.

Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Athens AL labs or research facilities as well.

Vet Tech Online Schools Offered

Athens Alabama dog wearing surgical coneAn alternative that might make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided via the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Athens AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, such as for traveling and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech program may be the ideal choice for you.

What to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges

By now you probably have decided on which veterinary degree that you want to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Athens AL area and across the USA, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to select a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are considering.

Is the Vet Program Accredited?  It's important that you make sure that the vet tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough screening process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a requirement for employment for many Athens AL area veterinarian practices and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The veterinarian college or trade school and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with online school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations regarding your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, get in touch with some Athens AL veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend one or more programs not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The best approach to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the colleges you are considering have internship programs arranged with Athens AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help establish connections in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.

Is Job Placement Offered?  Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A lower rate might mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may indicate that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Athens AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.

How Big are the Classes?  If the classes are larger sized, you may get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Athens AL schools you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to participate in some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Get evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the School Located?  Of course, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Athens AL home, you must make certain 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 commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the campus is located in or close by a larger city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. Of course taking classes online might be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And finally, it's essential that you determine if the vet colleges you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Athens AL. Some might only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities. You might find that an online college is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.

Find Out More About Athens Vet Technologist Programs

Choose the Right Athens Vet Technologist College

Picking the appropriate vet tech program is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Students looking into vet tech programs need to make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the right program, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Athens Alabama.


 

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