How to Find the Right Vet Tech Program Near Troy Alabama
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Troy AL might at first feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will deliver the necessary training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle analyzing and comparing colleges so that you can make the proper choice? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their residences. After they have found some area colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when assessing vet tech programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet tech schools you are evaluating before you make a final decision. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the different roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of jobs that they can carry out within the Troy AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, 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 standard veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared with assistants and generally acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years. So the main distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Troy AL laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An option that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using various methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Troy AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for example for traveling and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom programs. Just confirm that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech program may be the perfect choice for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you should have selected which veterinarian degree that you want to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Troy AL area and across the United States, you need to ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to enroll in a program that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the vet tech program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously stated, one of 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 demanding screening process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a precondition for employment for many Troy AL area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations relating to your specific schools. As a final pointer, contact some Troy AL veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Troy AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate may signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might mean that the program has an excellent reputation within the Troy AL veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Troy AL colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Troy AL home, you need to 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 choose to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you find out if the vet programs you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Troy AL. Others might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to sickness, work or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Enroll in the Best Troy Veterinary Technologist School
Selecting the appropriate veterinary technician program is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students thinking about veterinary technician colleges must make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the right college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Troy Alabama.