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How to Choose the Right Veterinary Technician College Near Clay Alabama

Clay Alabama vet technician holding nervous dogRealizing your lifelong dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Clay AL may at first feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you must locate and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about analyzing and contrasting schools so that you can make the proper selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their residences. When they have found some area schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet tech programs you are reviewing before you make an ultimate selection. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the different responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Clay Alabama veterinary technician checking kittens

One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can carry out within the Clay AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard vet practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and education requirements for each specialty.

  • Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. 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 associated with more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
  • Vet Technicians get more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years to complete. So 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 career opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.

Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Clay AL laboratories or research facilities as well.

Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered

Clay Alabama pup wearing surgical coneAn alternative that might make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Clay AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for example for traveling and study materials, can be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the right choice for you.

Questions to Ask Vet Tech Schools

At this point you should have decided on which veterinary credential that you would like to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Clay AL area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other essential qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to choose 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 programs that you are looking at.

Is the Vet Program Accredited?  It's essential that you verify that the vet tech college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough screening process that ensures you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Clay AL area vet clinics and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The veterinary trade school or college and program you select must have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations concerning your targeted schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Clay AL veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The most effective means to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Clay AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.

Is there a Job Placement Program?  Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A lower rate might indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Clay AL vet community and has a substantial 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 most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Clay AL colleges you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Get evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.

Where is the Campus Located?  Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Clay AL home, you must make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And last, it's important that you determine if the veterinarian colleges you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Clay AL. Others might only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family responsibilities. You might find that an online program is the best solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.

Find Out More About Clay Veterinary Technologist Colleges

Enroll in the Best Clay Veterinary Technologist College

Picking the appropriate veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Potential students considering veterinary technician schools must make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech 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 choice. And by selecting the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Clay Alabama.


 

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