How to Pick the Best Vet Technician Training Program Near Dothan Alabama
Fulfilling your long term aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Dothan AL might initially seem like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will furnish the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle analyzing and comparing colleges so that you can make the ideal choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their residences. Once they have found some local schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be looked into also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate selection. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different responsibilities of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the main factor will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Dothan AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish 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 position.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical 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 typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complex duties, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years. Therefore the only real distinction 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 also required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Dothan AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An approach that may be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Dothan AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, for instance for travel and study materials, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school 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 fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you probably have determined which veterinarian credential that you want to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Dothan AL area and across the USA, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other significant qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding review process that verifies you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is often a prerequisite for employment for many Dothan AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the veterinary community. 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 suggestions include looking on internet school ranking 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 involving your specific schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Dothan AL veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs set up with Dothan AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate could mean that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might mean that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Dothan AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might signify that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dothan AL colleges you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback 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 Campus Located? Yes, we previously discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Dothan AL home, you need to make sure 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 commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. Of course taking online classes could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's imperative that you ascertain if the veterinarian programs you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Dothan AL. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are available before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss due to sickness, work or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Dothan Vet Technologist School
Choosing the ideal veterinary technician program is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Students thinking about veterinary technician schools must make their determination based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on 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 assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the ideal college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Dothan Alabama.