How to Choose the Right Vet Technician College Near Montevallo Alabama
Fulfilling your long term dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Montevallo AL may at first feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you must find and enroll in a program 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 schools so that you can make the best selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have found some area schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant considerations when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are reviewing before you make an ultimate choice. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary factor will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Montevallo AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated undertakings, 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 handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared with assistants and typically earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved duties, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years to complete. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Montevallo AL labs or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An alternative that might 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 program. Since the classes are offered via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Montevallo AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for example for traveling and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school 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 furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you wish to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Montevallo AL area and across the USA, you should ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the veterinary technician college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously 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 rigorous screening process that confirms you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is in many cases a precondition for employment for many Montevallo AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, get in touch with some Montevallo AL vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs set up with Montevallo AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin 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 disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Montevallo AL vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Montevallo AL programs you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we already covered location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Montevallo AL home, you need to make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located near or in a larger city. Also, if you do decide to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you find out if the veterinary programs you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Montevallo AL. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online program is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.
Choose the Best Montevallo Veterinary Technologist Program
Enrolling in the ideal veterinary technician program is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Students thinking about veterinary technician programs need to make their decision based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you pick 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 included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Montevallo Alabama.