How to Pick the Right Vet Tech Program Near Jacksonville Alabama
Realizing your long term dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Jacksonville AL might initially seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will provide the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about analyzing and comparing colleges so that you can make the proper choice? Many future students launch their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their residences. When they have identified some local schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet tech programs you are considering before you make an ultimate selection. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the varied responsibilities of vet techs and the training options offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main factor will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Jacksonville AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the conventional vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- 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 community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states presently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years. So the main 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 options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Jacksonville AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An approach that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Jacksonville AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, for example for travel and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you probably have determined which veterinary degree that you would like to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Jacksonville AL area and across the United States, you must ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many potential students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the veterinary technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously discussed, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a prerequisite for employment for many Jacksonville AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for testimonials 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 department if there have been any grievances or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final tip, contact some Jacksonville AL veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective means to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Jacksonville AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local vet community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A low rate could signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Jacksonville AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might mean that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Jacksonville AL schools you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Jacksonville AL home, you must confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located in or near a large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course taking classes online could 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 important that you determine if the vet colleges you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Jacksonville AL. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family issues. You might find that an online program is the best solution to fit your vet education into your active life.
Choose the Best Jacksonville Veterinary Technologist School
Picking the appropriate vet tech college is a crucial first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students considering veterinary technician colleges must make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you choose 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 included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Jacksonville Alabama.