How to Enroll In the Best Vet Technician School Near Montgomery Alabama
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Montgomery AL might initially feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will furnish the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach reviewing and contrasting schools so that you can make the correct selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are close to their residences. After they have located some area colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important factors when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet tech programs you are considering before you make a final selection. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the different roles of vet techs and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan 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 devote to your education, but the main determiner will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many functions that they can carry out within the Montgomery AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared to assistants and normally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complex activities, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states presently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years to complete. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may acquire 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 approach that may make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Montgomery AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, for instance for traveling and study supplies, can be lower compared to more standard classroom programs. Just make sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinary degree that you want to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area as well as across the Country, you must 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 prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to enroll in a college that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. 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 gone through a demanding review process that verifies you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Montgomery AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you choose should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with online school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, phone some Montgomery AL vet clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Montgomery AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A lower rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied 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 might signify that the program has an excellent reputation within the Montgomery AL veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Montgomery AL schools you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Montgomery AL home, you must make certain that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located close by or within a larger 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 higher tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's essential that you ascertain if the vet schools you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Montgomery AL. Some may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss due to sickness, work or family emergencies. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Choose the Best Montgomery Vet Technologist School
Choosing the appropriate veterinary technician school is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career providing care and treatment for animals. Students thinking about veterinary technician schools must make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Montgomery Alabama.