How to Find the Best Vet Technician Training Near Anchorage Alaska
Fulfilling your long term goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Anchorage AK may at first feel like a daunting endeavor. After all, you must search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the necessary training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you can make the right selection? Many future students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are close to their residences. Once they have located some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant concerns when evaluating vet tech programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet technician schools you are looking at before you make a final selection. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Anchorage AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, 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 veterinarians and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complex undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their regular responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training in contrast to assistants and generally earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes four years to complete. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist 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 additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Anchorage AK laboratories or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An alternative that may make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered over the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Anchorage AK veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for instance for commuting and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make certain that the online school 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 included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you want to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Anchorage AK area and across the USA, you should ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already touched on other important qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to enroll in a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive review process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a precondition for employment for many Anchorage AK area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or trade school and program you select must have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, call some Anchorage AK vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs arranged with Anchorage AK veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical 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 may also help develop associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A lower rate may suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the program has an excellent reputation within the Anchorage AK veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may 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 sized, you probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Anchorage AK programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students regarding 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? Okay, we previously discussed location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Anchorage AK home, you have to 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, especially if the campus is located in or near a larger city. Also, 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 costs particularly for state and community colleges. Of course taking classes online 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 essential that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Anchorage AK. Others might only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online college is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Choose the Right Anchorage Vet Technologist School
Picking the ideal vet tech school is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Students looking into veterinary technician colleges must make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech colleges 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 decision. And by choosing the ideal college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Anchorage Alaska.