How to Select the Best Veterinary Technician Training Program Near Prattville Alabama
Fulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Prattville AL may initially feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will provide the proper training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach assessing and contrasting programs so that you can make the proper choice? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by looking for schools that are close to their homes. After they have identified some area schools, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important factors when evaluating veterinary technician programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are evaluating before you make a final decision. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the primary determiner will probably be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are numerous functions that they can carry out within the Prattville AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most 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 veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared with assistants and usually obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function 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, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires 4 years to complete. So the main 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, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also required 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 emergency care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Prattville AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An alternative that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while going to vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using various methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Prattville AL veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for example for traveling and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make certain that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized 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 manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you should have determined which veterinarian degree that you would like to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Prattville AL area and across the Country, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other significant qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to enroll in a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited schools. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a requirement for employment for a number of Prattville AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary vocational school or college and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, phone some Prattville AL veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you receive 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 practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the schools you are considering have internship programs set up with Prattville AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local vet community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college 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 evaluating. A low rate could mean that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Prattville AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may indicate 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 one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Prattville AL schools you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Prattville AL home, you must make certain that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located in or near a larger city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. Of course taking online classes could be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's imperative that you ascertain if the veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Prattville AL. Some might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online college is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your active life.
Enroll in the Best Prattville Vet Technologist School
Selecting the ideal vet tech program is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students considering vet tech schools need to make their decision based on several key issues. 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 excellent reputation within the field. This goes for 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 choice. And by selecting the right school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Prattville Alabama.