How to Select the Right Veterinary Technician Training Near Fairbanks Alaska
Fulfilling your long term dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Fairbanks AK might initially seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will provide the proper training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing programs so that you can make the best selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are close to their homes. Once they have identified some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when comparing vet technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make an ultimate selection. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different duties of vet techs and the training options offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you want to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of functions that they can carry out within the Fairbanks AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have completed 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 vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgeries. A few of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and usually obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex activities, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- 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. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Fairbanks AK laboratories or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An approach that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Fairbanks AK veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, such as for travel and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have determined which veterinary degree that you wish to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Fairbanks AK area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to select a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, one of 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 screening process that confirms you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is often a precondition for employment for many Fairbanks AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on online school rating 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 violations involving your specific schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Fairbanks AK vet clinics that you may want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend one or more 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 setting. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Fairbanks AK veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local vet community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate could mean that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the school has an excellent reputation within the Fairbanks AK veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you probably will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Fairbanks AK colleges you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we previously talked about 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 Fairbanks AK home, you have to confirm 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 college is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's imperative that you ascertain if the vet programs you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Fairbanks AK. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to sickness, work or family emergencies. You might find that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Right Fairbanks Veterinary Technologist College
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech program is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet tech programs need to make their decision based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the ideal college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Fairbanks Alaska.