How to Select the Right Vet Technician School Near Greenville Alabama
Realizing your long term goal of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Greenville AL may at first feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will furnish the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing programs so that you can make the proper choice? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their homes. Once they have located some nearby schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant factors when evaluating vet technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated also. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the vet technician schools you are reviewing before you make a final choice. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different roles of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main factor will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of jobs that they can carry out within the Greenville AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training in contrast to assistants and normally obtain a 2 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 fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex functions, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years. So the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Greenville AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An approach that may be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Greenville AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for example for traveling and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more standard classroom programs. Just confirm that the program that you choose 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 independent manner, an online vet tech program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you probably have decided on which veterinarian credential that you would like to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Greenville AL area and across the USA, you must ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are considering.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the vet tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough screening process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Greenville AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with 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 complaints or infractions concerning your targeted schools. As a final tip, contact some Greenville AL veterinarians that you might want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs arranged with Greenville AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate might mean that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Greenville AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Greenville AL schools you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Get evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Greenville AL home, you must 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 drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do choose to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you determine if the veterinary schools you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Greenville AL. Some might 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. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Greenville Vet Technologist Program
Picking the ideal vet tech program is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their decision based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by picking the right college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Greenville Alabama.