How to Choose the Best Veterinary Technician College Near Atmore Alabama
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Atmore AL could initially feel like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you must locate and enroll in a college that will provide the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about evaluating and contrasting programs so that you can make the best selection? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. When they have located some nearby schools, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when comparing vet tech programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make a final choice. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different duties of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many duties that they can carry out within the Atmore AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared 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 veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex functions, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and basically perform the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires four years. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher 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 emergency care. Some may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Atmore AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An approach that may be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Atmore AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, such as for commuting and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you should have selected which veterinary degree that you wish to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Atmore AL area as well as across the United States, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the vet tech program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, one of 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 ensures you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a requirement for employment for a number of Atmore AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you choose must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions relating to your targeted schools. As a final pointer, get in touch with some Atmore AL vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the programs you are looking at have internship programs established with Atmore AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help build relationships in the local vet community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging 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 indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the college has an excellent reputation within the Atmore AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower 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 Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Atmore AL programs you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we previously covered location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Atmore AL home, you must make certain that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, 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 near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's imperative that you ascertain if the vet schools you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Atmore AL. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family emergencies. You may find that an online school is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Atmore Vet Technologist School
Choosing the ideal vet tech college is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students considering veterinary technician schools need to make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the right school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Atmore Alabama.