How to Choose the Best Vet Tech School Near Prattville Alabama
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Prattville AL may initially seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you must find and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about assessing and comparing schools so that you can make the ideal choice? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their homes. After they have found some local colleges, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when evaluating vet technician schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician schools you are reviewing before you make a final choice. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the varied roles of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of jobs that they can carry out within the Prattville AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from 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 completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated undertakings, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training in contrast to assistants and typically earn a two 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 fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated functions, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires 4 years to complete. So 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 additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Prattville AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Prattville AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, such as for travel and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more standard 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 independent fashion, an online vet tech program may be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Schools
At this point you should have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Prattville AL area as well as across the USA, you must ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many future students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the veterinary technician college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, 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 receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a requirement for employment for many Prattville AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet college or trade school and program you choose should have an excellent 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 pointers include checking with online school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations involving your specific schools. As a final suggestion, call some Prattville AL veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Prattville AL veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help build associations in the local vet community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate may indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may signify that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Prattville AL vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could indicate that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Prattville AL schools you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get evaluations from students regarding 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 Campus Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Prattville AL home, you must make certain 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 commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the school 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 increased tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. Of course taking classes online might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's imperative that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Prattville AL. Others may only be able to attend classes 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 as a result of illness, work or family responsibilities. You might find that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Prattville Veterinary Technologist College
Choosing the appropriate veterinary technician college is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet tech programs must make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech 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 choosing the best program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Prattville Alabama.