How to Find the Best Vet Technician Program Near Fairbanks Alaska
Realizing your long term dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Fairbanks AK may at first seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the correct selection? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their homes. When they have located some area schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are significant concerns when evaluating vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate decision. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in 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 direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many jobs that they can perform within the Fairbanks AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, 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 vets and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared with assistants and usually obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally 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 options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Fairbanks AK labs or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An option that may be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many 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 Fairbanks AK veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for instance for commuting and study materials, may be lower compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have selected which veterinarian credential that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Fairbanks AK area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already touched on other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a program that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously 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 a thorough screening process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is frequently a requirement for employment for many Fairbanks AK area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online 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 complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final tip, contact some Fairbanks AK veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They might even recommend some schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Fairbanks AK veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help develop relationships in the local vet community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A lower rate might indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Fairbanks AK veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairbanks AK colleges you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we previously discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Fairbanks AK home, you have to confirm 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, especially if the school is located close by or within a large city. In addition, 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. Of course attending online classes might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the vet programs you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Fairbanks AK. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family responsibilities. You may find that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the right vet tech school is a crucial first step to beginning a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Future students considering vet tech programs need to make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's very important 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 programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the ideal college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Fairbanks Alaska.