How to Find the Best Vet Technician Training Near Decatur Alabama
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Decatur AL might initially seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will provide the proper training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you approach reviewing and comparing schools so that you can make the best selection? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their residences. When they have located some local schools, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant factors when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician schools you are looking at before you make an ultimate selection. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are numerous jobs that they can perform within the Decatur AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or vocational 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 involved with more complicated undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared to assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved duties, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Decatur AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An approach that might make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided over the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Decatur AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, such as for traveling and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just make certain that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. 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 self-reliant manner, an online vet tech school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you should have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Decatur AL area and across the USA, you should ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are looking at.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the veterinary technician program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive screening process that verifies you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a precondition for employment for many Decatur AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on internet school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations regarding your targeted schools. As a final pointer, call some Decatur AL veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the colleges you are considering have internship programs established with Decatur AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate may indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Decatur AL veterinarian 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 personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Decatur AL colleges you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we already covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Decatur AL home, you need to confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located in or near 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 increased tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes may be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you ascertain if the veterinarian programs you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Decatur AL. Others may only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to work, sickness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.
Choose the Right Decatur Vet Technologist College
Picking the appropriate vet tech college is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about veterinary technician programs need to make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the ideal college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Decatur Alabama.