How to Pick the Best Vet Tech School Near Clanton Alabama
Achieving your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Clanton AL may initially feel like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will deliver the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the ideal choice? Many future students begin their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their homes. Once they have found some area schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant considerations when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech schools you are looking at before you make an ultimate choice. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many functions that they can carry out within the Clanton AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing 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 completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training in contrast to assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years. Therefore 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 opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Clanton AL labs or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An option that may be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Clanton 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 expenditures, for instance for commuting and study materials, can be lower compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just be sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you probably have selected which veterinary degree that you want to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Clanton AL area and across the USA, you should ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the vet tech school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously mentioned, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive screening process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a requirement for employment for a number of Clanton AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you select must have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with online 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 complaints or violations regarding your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Clanton AL veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs set up with Clanton AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations 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 college can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate may indicate that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might signify that the school has an excellent reputation within the Clanton AL veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not highly regarded 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 probably will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Clanton AL schools you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we already talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Clanton AL home, you have to make certain that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do choose to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes might be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you ascertain if the veterinarian schools you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough 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 Clanton AL. Others might only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family issues. You might find that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Clanton Vet Technologist College
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech program is an important first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students thinking about veterinary technician programs must make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the right school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Clanton Alabama.