How to Find the Best Veterinary Technician School Near Troy Alabama
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Troy AL may at first feel like a daunting endeavor. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a college that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about assessing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the right choice? Many future students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their residences. When they have identified some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are significant considerations when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet tech schools you are reviewing before you make a final selection. We have furnished 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 options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are many functions that they can perform within the Troy AL veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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. Usually they are not associated with more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training in contrast to assistants and typically earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more involved activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically carry out the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency 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 Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An approach that might make sense 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 made available over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally 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 lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, for example for travel and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just confirm that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Schools
By now you probably have selected which veterinary degree 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 veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Troy AL area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the vet tech school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, 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 an extensive review process that verifies you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a prerequisite for employment for many Troy AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary community. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations involving your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Troy AL veterinarians that you may want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Troy AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish associations in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate might signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Troy AL veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Troy AL programs you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously discussed location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Troy AL home, you have to make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive 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 higher tuition charges particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you ascertain if the veterinarian schools you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Troy AL. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure 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 as a result of illness, work or family issues. You might find that an online program is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Choose the Right Troy Veterinary Technologist School
Choosing the right veterinary technician school is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students considering veterinary technician programs need to make their determination based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech schools 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 choice. And by picking the best school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Troy Alabama.