How to Find the Best Vet Tech Training Program Near Anchorage Alaska
Realizing your long term goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Anchorage AK could at first seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will deliver the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle evaluating and contrasting colleges so that you can make the ideal choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have found some area colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are important concerns when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only important 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 programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various responsibilities of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the principal determiner will most likely be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are numerous jobs that they can perform within the Anchorage AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have gone through a structured 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 trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved duties, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years to complete. So the main 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 options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Anchorage AK labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An alternative that may make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using multiple methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Anchorage AK veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, for instance for commuting and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you should have decided on 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 veterinarian community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Anchorage AK area as well as across the United States, you must ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding review process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is frequently a prerequisite for employment for many Anchorage AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the vet 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 internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, contact some Anchorage AK veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with Anchorage AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help build relationships in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A lower rate may indicate that the teachers were unqualified to teach the course of study or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may signify that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Anchorage AK vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Anchorage AK programs you are looking at what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously 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 Anchorage AK home, you need to make sure that the commuting time fits into 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, particularly if the college is located near or in a large city. In addition, if you do opt to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending classes online may be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian programs you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Anchorage AK. Others might only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family responsibilities. You might find that an online college is the best way to fit your veterinary training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Anchorage Veterinary Technologist School
Enrolling in the right vet tech program is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for animals. Future students considering vet tech colleges must make their decision based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Anchorage Alaska.