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How to Choose the Right Vet Tech Training Program Near Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery Alabama veterinary tech holding anxious dogRealizing your long term aspiration of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Montgomery AL might at first seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will provide the proper training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you approach analyzing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the correct selection? Many potential students start their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their homes. Once they have found some area schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered 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 provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the different roles of vet techs and the training options available.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Montgomery Alabama vet technician checking kittens

Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether 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 education, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests 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 although there are numerous jobs that they can carry out within the Montgomery AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the conventional vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each specialization.

  • Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern 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 execution of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their usual responsibilities 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 compared to assistants and normally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are included in more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and essentially perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years. So the main 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 options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.

Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Montgomery AL labs or research facilities as well.

Online Vet Tech Programs Offered

Montgomery Alabama pup with surgical coneAn option that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered via the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled 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 lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, for example for travel and study supplies, may be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech program may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Vet Tech Colleges

At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian degree that you wish to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Montgomery AL area and across the USA, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously touched on other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.

Is the Vet Program Accredited?  It's essential that you make sure that the vet tech college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important 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 frequently a prerequisite for employment for many Montgomery AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.

What is the Program's Reputation?  The veterinarian college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Montgomery AL veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend some programs not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The most effective approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs established with Montgomery AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a position after graduation.

Is Job Placement Provided?  Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate may indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Montgomery AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could signify that the training is not highly thought of 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 individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Montgomery AL programs you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the College Located?  Okay, we already covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Montgomery AL home, you must confirm that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the campus is located in or near a large city. In addition, if you do choose to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.

Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule?  And last, it's essential that you find out if the veterinarian programs you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only go to 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. Make certain that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online school is the best way to fit your vet training into your hectic life.

Learn More About Montgomery Veterinary Technologist Colleges

Choose the Right Montgomery Veterinary Technologist Program

Enrolling in the ideal vet tech college is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the ideal program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Montgomery Alabama.


 

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