How to Pick the Best Veterinary Technician School Near Auburn Alabama
Achieving your long term aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Auburn AL might at first seem like a daunting task. After all, you must locate and enroll in a college that will furnish the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the proper selection? Many future students launch their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have located some area colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are important concerns when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician programs you are reviewing before you make a final selection. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the various roles of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main factor will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Auburn AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases 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 veterinarians and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared with assistants and typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and basically perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years to complete. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Auburn AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Auburn AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, for example for traveling and study materials, can be lower compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you should have decided on which veterinarian credential that you would like 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, trade and vocational schools in the Auburn AL area as well as across the USA, you must ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to enroll in a program that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, 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 thorough review process that verifies you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a prerequisite for employment for many Auburn AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the vet field. 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 checking with online 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 grievances or violations involving your targeted schools. As a final pointer, phone some Auburn AL veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs arranged with Auburn AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local vet community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A lower rate may mean that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Auburn AL veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL colleges you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Auburn AL home, you must make sure that the commuting time is compatible with 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, especially if the college is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's essential that you ascertain if the vet programs you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Auburn AL. Others might only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss because of sickness, work or family emergencies. You might find that an online program is the best solution to fit your vet education into your active life.
Choose the Right Auburn Veterinary Technologist College
Enrolling in the right veterinary technician school is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students considering veterinary technician programs must make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you decide on 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 reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by picking the right college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Auburn Alabama.