How to Select the Right Vet Tech College Near Decatur Alabama
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech college near Decatur AL may at first seem like a daunting task. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a school that will provide the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about reviewing and contrasting programs so that you can make the right choice? Many future students begin their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their homes. When they have identified some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important concerns when comparing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered also. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary technician schools you are reviewing before you make an ultimate choice. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the primary factor will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many functions that they can perform within the Decatur AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training in contrast to assistants and generally earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are included in more involved activities, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years. Therefore the only real 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, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Decatur AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An alternative that might make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinarian school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be fulfilled 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 many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, such as for traveling and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you should have determined which veterinary degree that you wish to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Decatur AL area and across the USA, you should ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a demanding review process that ensures you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is often a requirement for employment for many Decatur AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you choose should have an exceptional reputation within the vet community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions concerning your targeted schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Decatur AL vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend one or more programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Decatur AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A low rate may indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Decatur AL vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Decatur AL programs you are researching what their classroom student to teacher 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 concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Decatur AL home, you need to make sure that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the campus is located close by or within a large 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 fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes might be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinarian programs you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Decatur AL. Others might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies. You might discover that an online program is the best way to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Decatur Veterinary Technologist Program
Picking the right vet tech school is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for animals. Future students thinking about vet tech 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 commonly take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech programs 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 choice. And by selecting the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Decatur Alabama.