How to Find the Right Veterinary Technician Degree Program Near Troy Alabama
Fulfilling your long term dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Troy AL may at first seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing programs so that you can make the best choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are close to their homes. Once they have located some nearby schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant factors when comparing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary 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 predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are a number of jobs that they can carry out within the Troy AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from 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 performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared to assistants and generally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years. Therefore the main distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and possible 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 urgent care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Troy AL labs or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An option that might be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered through the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Troy AL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for example for commuting and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is furnished 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 ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Schools
At this point you should have determined which veterinary degree that you want 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, technical and vocational schools in the Troy AL area and across the United States, you need to ask some important 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 mentioned other significant qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous review process that ensures you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for many Troy AL area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Troy AL vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They might even suggest some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Troy AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local vet community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Troy AL veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Troy AL colleges you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Troy AL home, you have to confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to enroll in a school 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 taking classes online could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you determine if the vet schools you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to accommodate 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 Troy AL. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Troy Vet Technologist School
Choosing the ideal vet tech program is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students thinking about vet tech colleges need to make their decision based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding 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 reduce your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the ideal college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Troy Alabama.