How to Enroll In the Right Vet Technician School Near Troy Alabama
Fulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Troy AL could initially feel like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will furnish the proper training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing schools so that you can make the correct choice? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their residences. Once they have found some nearby schools, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet technician schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make a final selection. We have furnished several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the various responsibilities of vet techs and the training options offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you plan to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal determiner will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can perform within the Troy AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared to assistants and usually obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are included in more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and essentially perform the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years to complete. Therefore the main distinction between a vet technologist and a technician 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 may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Troy AL labs or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Schools Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Troy AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for commuting and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you want to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Troy AL area as well as across the United States, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to choose a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you select 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 obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Troy AL area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you choose must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips 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 specific schools. As a final tip, phone some Troy AL veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They might even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs arranged with Troy AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A lower rate could indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Troy AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify 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 get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Troy AL colleges you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Troy AL home, you must make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located in or close by a larger city. Also, 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 classes online could be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you find out if the vet schools you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Troy AL. Others might only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Troy Veterinary Technologist School
Selecting the appropriate veterinary technician program is an important first step to starting a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their selection based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the ideal program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Troy Alabama.