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How to Choose the Best Vet Tech Degree Program Near Dothan Alabama

Dothan Alabama veterinary tech holding anxious dogAchieving your long term dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Dothan AL could at first feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a college that will deliver the proper training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing schools so that you can make the ideal selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their homes. Once they have found some local schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when assessing vet technician programs, they are not the only important ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician schools you are reviewing before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the varied duties of vet techs and the training options offered.

Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Dothan Alabama veterinary tech examining kittens

One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan 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 invest in your training, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous tasks that they can carry out within the Dothan AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education requirements for each specialization.

  • Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
  • Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared to assistants and generally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent 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 complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires 4 years. 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 work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.

Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Dothan AL labs or research facilities also.

Vet Tech Online Schools Offered

Dothan Alabama dog with surgical coneAn approach that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally 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 some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, such as for commuting and study materials, can be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Vet Tech Programs

At this point you probably have decided on which veterinarian credential that you want to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Dothan AL area as well as across the USA, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to select a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.

Is the Veterinary Program Accredited?  It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive review process that confirms you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a requirement for employment for a number of Dothan 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 veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with 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 grievances or violations relating to your targeted schools. As a final tip, phone some Dothan AL veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend some programs not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The best means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the schools you are looking at have internship programs established with Dothan AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.

Is there a Job Assistance Program?  Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A low rate may signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may mean that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Dothan AL vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could 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 larger, you most likely will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Dothan AL programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.

Where is the School Located?  Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Dothan AL home, you need to make certain that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located in or close by a larger city. In addition, if you do choose to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.

Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule?  And finally, it's important that you ascertain if the vet schools you are exploring 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 in the evenings near Dothan AL. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of work, sickness or family issues. You might discover that an online school is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.

Learn More About Dothan Vet Tech Schools

Choose the Right Dothan Veterinary Technologist College

Picking the ideal veterinary technician school is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students thinking about vet tech colleges need to make their determination based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the right program, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Dothan Alabama.


 

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