How to Select the Right Vet Tech School Near Tuscumbia Alabama
Fulfilling your lifelong dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Tuscumbia AL might at first seem like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach reviewing and comparing colleges so that you can make the correct choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their homes. After they have located some local schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into as well. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician schools you are reviewing before you make an ultimate choice. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various responsibilities of vet techs and the training options available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Tuscumbia AL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complex activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and usually acquire a two 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 included in more involved duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years to complete. So 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 opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Tuscumbia AL labs or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Tuscumbia AL veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, such as for travel and study supplies, may be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school 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 complete education. So if you are disciplined 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 Schools
By now you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Tuscumbia AL area as well as across the Country, you must ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many prospective students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already touched on other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous review process that verifies you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is frequently a prerequisite for employment for a number of Tuscumbia AL area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet 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 colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alabama school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations involving your specific schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Tuscumbia AL veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with Tuscumbia AL veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local vet community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate may suggest that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Tuscumbia AL vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Tuscumbia AL colleges you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback 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 School Located? Okay, we already discussed location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Tuscumbia AL home, you need to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located close by or within a large city. In addition, 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 state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the vet schools you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Tuscumbia AL. Some may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of sickness, work or family issues. You might find that an online school is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Enroll in the Best Tuscumbia Vet Technologist Program
Choosing the appropriate vet tech program is an important first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into veterinary technician schools need to make their determination based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the best college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Tuscumbia Alabama.