How to Select the Best Vet Tech School Near Montgomery Alabama
Fulfilling your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Montgomery AL might at first seem like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a college that will provide the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing programs so that you can make the ideal choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their residences. Once they have identified some nearby schools, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when evaluating vet technician programs, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet tech schools you are evaluating before you make a final choice. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many tasks that they can carry out within the Montgomery AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and usually earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex functions, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and essentially perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires 4 years. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Montgomery AL labs or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Schools Offered
An approach 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. Because the classes are offered over the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using various methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Montgomery AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for traveling and study materials, can be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical 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 program may be the right choice for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you should have selected which veterinarian credential that you want to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area as well as across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier mentioned, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous review process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a requirement for employment for a number of Montgomery AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and checking with 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, call some Montgomery AL veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with Montgomery AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help develop connections in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A lower rate may signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Montgomery AL vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Montgomery AL programs you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we already discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Montgomery AL home, you need to make certain 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 commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or near a large city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you determine if the veterinarian programs you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Montgomery AL. Others may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies. You might find that an online program is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Montgomery Veterinary Technologist College
Enrolling in the ideal vet tech school is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for animals. Future students looking into vet tech schools need to make their decision based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative 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 assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the right college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Montgomery Alabama.