How to Choose the Right Vet Technician College Near Montgomery Alabama
Fulfilling your long term aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Montgomery AL might initially seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will provide the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle assessing and contrasting programs so that you can make the correct choice? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their homes. Once they have found some local colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are important factors when evaluating veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech schools you are reviewing before you make an ultimate decision. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the different roles of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the principal factor will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Montgomery AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing 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 completion of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more involved functions, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Montgomery AL laboratories or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Montgomery AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for instance for travel and study supplies, can be lower compared to more conventional 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 included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Montgomery AL area and across the USA, you should ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the vet tech program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, one of the most highly respected 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 get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is often a prerequisite for employment for many Montgomery AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations 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, get in touch with some Montgomery AL vet clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with Montgomery AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local vet community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate might suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the college has an excellent reputation within the Montgomery AL veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Montgomery AL programs you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we already talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Montgomery AL home, you need to make sure that the driving 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 school is located in or near a large city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinarian programs you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Montgomery AL. Others might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are available before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family issues. You may find that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Choose the Best Montgomery Vet Technologist School
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech college is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students thinking about vet tech programs must make their determination based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online colleges 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 selecting the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Montgomery Alabama.