How to Pick the Best Vet Technician Degree Program Near Dothan Alabama
Fulfilling your long term dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Dothan AL may initially seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will deliver the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about reviewing and contrasting programs so that you can make the ideal selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their residences. Once they have found some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician schools you are reviewing 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 roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many tasks that they can carry out within the Dothan AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the conventional veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational 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 complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared to assistants and typically earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved duties, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires four years. So the main distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Dothan AL labs or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Schools Offered
An option that might make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can usually be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Dothan AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, such as for travel and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just be sure 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 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 vet tech program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Schools
At this point you probably have selected which veterinary degree that you wish to obtain, and if you prefer 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 Dothan AL area and across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a demanding screening process that verifies you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Dothan AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you choose should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on internet school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Dothan AL veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Dothan AL veterinarians, vet clinics 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 as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish associations in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate may suggest that the teachers were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Dothan AL veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not well thought of 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 probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dothan AL programs you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Dothan AL home, you must confirm that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located in or close by a large city. In addition, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you determine if the veterinary schools you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Dothan AL. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family issues. You may find that an online program is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Enroll in the Best Dothan Veterinary Technologist College
Selecting the appropriate vet tech college is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students thinking about veterinary technician schools must make their determination based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech schools 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 picking the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Dothan Alabama.