How to Pick the Best Veterinary Technician Program Near Prattville Alabama
Fulfilling your long term dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech college near Prattville AL may initially seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the necessary training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about assessing and comparing colleges so that you can make the best choice? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their homes. After they have found some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important considerations when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician schools you are looking at before you make an ultimate selection. We have furnished several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the varied duties of vet techs and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of functions that they can perform within the Prattville AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive 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 fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and essentially perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes four years. So the main 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, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Prattville AL labs or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Prattville AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for commuting and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more standard classroom programs. Just be 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 disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online vet tech program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you probably have decided on which veterinary credential that you wish to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Prattville AL area as well as across the United States, you should ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree 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 schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the vet tech school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously mentioned, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for many Prattville AL area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you select must have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on online school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations involving your specific schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Prattville AL vet clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend some schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Prattville AL veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate may mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could indicate that the college has an excellent reputation within the Prattville AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Prattville AL programs you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Prattville AL home, you need to confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or near a large city. Also, if you do opt 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 classes online could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's imperative that you ascertain if the veterinary schools you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to 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. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family issues. You might find that an online program is the best way to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Prattville Vet Technologist School
Enrolling in the right veterinary technician school is a crucial first step to starting a fulfilling career providing treatment and care for animals. Future students looking into vet tech programs need to make their determination based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients 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 online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the right school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Prattville Alabama.