How to Find the Best Veterinary Technician Degree Program Near Montgomery Alabama
Achieving your long term dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Montgomery AL may initially feel like a challenging task. After all, you must find and enroll in a program that will furnish the necessary training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the correct selection? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have located some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when assessing vet tech programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are reviewing before you make a final choice. We have furnished several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the different roles of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference may be based 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 techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are numerous jobs that they can perform within the Montgomery AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a formal 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. Usually they are not associated with more complicated undertakings, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared to assistants and normally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved functions, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states currently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires four years. Therefore 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 examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Montgomery AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An option that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Montgomery AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for instance for travel and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more standard classroom programs. Just make certain that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech program may be the ideal choice for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you should have decided on which veterinary credential that you wish to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the vet tech school you enroll in 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 a demanding screening process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Montgomery AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you choose must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with internet school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your targeted schools. As a final tip, call some Montgomery AL vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend some schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Montgomery AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the clinical training, but an internship may also help establish connections in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Montgomery AL veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you probably will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Montgomery AL programs you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications 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 make on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Montgomery AL home, you need to confirm 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 commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school 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 option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you ascertain if the veterinary colleges you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Montgomery AL. Some might only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family responsibilities. You might find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Choose the Right Montgomery Vet Technologist Program
Selecting the right vet tech college is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students looking into veterinary technician schools need to make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding 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 narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the ideal program, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Montgomery Alabama.