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How to Pick the Right Vet Technician School Near Jacksonville Alabama

Jacksonville Alabama vet tech calming anxious dogAchieving your long term dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Jacksonville AL may initially feel like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach reviewing and contrasting programs so that you can make the ideal selection? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their residences. After they have identified some nearby schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when comparing veterinary technician schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are evaluating before you make a final choice. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Jacksonville Alabama veterinary technician examining kittens

Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are many functions that they can perform within the Jacksonville AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each position.

  • Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have undergone a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing 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 performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
  • Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and normally earn 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 basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complex duties, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and for the most part carry out the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires 4 years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.

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

Vet Tech Online Programs Offered

Jacksonville Alabama pup wearing surgical coneAn approach that may 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 program. Because the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Jacksonville AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, such as for commuting and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online vet tech school may be the perfect choice for you.

What to Ask Vet Tech Programs

By now you probably have decided on which veterinarian degree that you want to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Jacksonville AL area and across the United States, you need to ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are looking at.

Is the Vet School Accredited?  It's important that you make sure that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive review process that verifies you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Jacksonville AL area veterinarian practices and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance 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 regarding your specific schools. As a final pointer, phone some Jacksonville AL veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They might even suggest one or more schools not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The best means to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with Jacksonville AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help establish connections in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for employment after graduation.

Is Job Placement Offered?  Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A lower rate might indicate that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may indicate that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Jacksonville AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.

How Big are the Classes?  If the classes are bigger, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Jacksonville AL colleges you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to attend some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the Campus Located?  Of course, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Jacksonville AL home, you need to make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do choose to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online may be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinary colleges you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Jacksonville AL. Some might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss because of work, sickness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online program is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.

Learn More About Jacksonville Vet Technician Colleges

Choose the Best Jacksonville Vet Technologist Program

Picking the ideal veterinary technician program is a crucial first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students thinking about veterinary technician programs need to make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the right college, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Jacksonville Alabama.


 

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