How to Pick the Best Vet Technician College Near Robertsdale Alabama
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Robertsdale AL might at first seem like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you have to find and enroll in a college that will provide the proper training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing colleges so that you can make the best selection? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have located some area colleges, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are significant concerns when evaluating vet technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make an ultimate selection. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many tasks that they can carry out within the Robertsdale AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the typical vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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 completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive 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 sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically carry out the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Robertsdale AL labs or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Schools Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Robertsdale AL veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for example for commuting and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just confirm 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 practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Robertsdale AL area as well as across the Country, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many potential students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the vet tech program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive screening process that confirms you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a prerequisite for employment for many Robertsdale AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or trade school and program you select must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with internet school ranking 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 violations involving your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, contact some Robertsdale AL vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the schools you are looking at have internship programs established with Robertsdale AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish connections in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate might indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the program has an excellent reputation within the Robertsdale AL veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not highly 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 larger in size, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Robertsdale AL schools you are looking at 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. Get evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Robertsdale AL home, you have to 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, especially if the college is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do choose to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher 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 decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you find out if the vet colleges you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate 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 Robertsdale AL. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies. You may find that an online school is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your busy life.
Choose the Best Robertsdale Vet Technologist School
Picking the appropriate veterinary technician program is an important first step to beginning a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Students thinking about veterinary technician colleges need to make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Robertsdale Alabama.