How to Pick the Right Vet Tech Program Near Juneau Alaska
Realizing your lifelong dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Juneau AK could initially feel like a challenging task. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a college that will deliver the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about assessing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the proper choice? Many future students begin their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their homes. Once they have found some area schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant considerations when assessing vet technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician schools you are considering before you make a final decision. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various roles of vet techs and the training options offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Juneau AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern 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 veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and normally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years to complete. So the only real difference 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 required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can 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 Juneau AK laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An alternative that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided via the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Juneau AK veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for example for travel and study supplies, can be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have determined which veterinarian credential that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Juneau AK area and across the Country, you must ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other significant qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech colleges that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive screening process that verifies you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Juneau AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or trade school and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance 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 authority if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your specific schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Juneau AK vet clinics that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the schools you are considering have internship programs arranged with Juneau AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the clinical training, but an internship may also help build relationships in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate may signify 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 colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Juneau AK veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Juneau AK schools you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we previously talked about location, but there are several more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Juneau AK home, you have to make sure that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or near a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending online classes 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 imperative that you determine if the vet schools 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 attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Juneau AK. Some might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the best way to fit your vet education into your active life.
Choose the Right Juneau Veterinary Technologist Program
Selecting the right vet tech school is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students considering vet tech schools must make their selection based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the right program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Juneau Alaska.