How to Enroll In the Best Veterinary Technician Degree Program Near Fairbanks Alaska
Fulfilling your long term aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Fairbanks AK may at first seem like a daunting endeavor. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a program that will deliver the necessary training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you approach analyzing and contrasting schools so that you can make the best selection? Many potential students start their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their homes. When they have identified some local schools, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important considerations when evaluating vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician schools you are evaluating before you make an ultimate decision. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you want to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are many duties that they can carry out within the Fairbanks AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the typical veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training in contrast to assistants and normally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the main distinction between a vet technologist and a technician 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.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Fairbanks AK laboratories or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An option that may make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can usually be fulfilled 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 lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for instance for traveling and study supplies, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just make certain that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech program may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you should have determined which veterinarian degree that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Fairbanks AK area and across the United States, you must ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are looking at.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously discussed, among 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 thorough review process that confirms you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is often a precondition for employment for a number of Fairbanks AK area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the veterinary community. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with internet school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations relating to your targeted schools. As a final pointer, get in touch with some Fairbanks AK vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the colleges you are considering have internship programs arranged with Fairbanks AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help establish relationships in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college may be difficult 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 lower rate could indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Fairbanks AK veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might signify that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement 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. Solicit from the Fairbanks AK programs you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to participate in some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students relating to 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? Okay, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Fairbanks AK home, you need to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located near or in a large city. In addition, if you do opt to attend 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 attending classes online may be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinary programs you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Fairbanks AK. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies. You might find that an online school is the best way to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Choose the Right Fairbanks Veterinary Technologist College
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech program is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students looking into vet tech schools must make their determination based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the right college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Fairbanks Alaska.