How to Select the Right Vet Tech Degree Program Near Eagle River Alaska
Realizing your lifelong dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Eagle River AK could initially seem like a challenging task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a school that will furnish the necessary training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you approach reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the correct selection? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. After they have identified some area colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are important factors when comparing veterinary technician schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the different duties of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can perform within the Eagle River AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the typical vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. 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 activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more involved activities, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states currently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years. So the main difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Eagle River AK laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Schools Offered
An option that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered through the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using multiple methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Eagle River AK veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for example for commuting and study supplies, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make certain 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 clinical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Eagle River AK area as well as across the Country, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are looking at.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you verify that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, among the most highly regarded 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 superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is often a requirement for employment for many Eagle River AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on internet school rating 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 relating to your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Eagle River AK vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with Eagle River AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local veterinary community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A low rate could signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could signify that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Eagle River AK veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might indicate that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective 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 Eagle River AK programs you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students regarding 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 Campus Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Eagle River AK home, you need to make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located near or in a larger city. Also, if you do decide 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. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Eagle River AK. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss due to work, sickness or family emergencies. You might find that an online college is the best way to fit your vet training into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Eagle River Vet Technologist College
Selecting the right vet tech college is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Potential students considering veterinary technician colleges need to make their decision based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the right program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Eagle River Alaska.