How to Enroll In the Best Vet Technician School Near Juneau Alaska
Fulfilling your long term dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Juneau AK may at first feel like a challenging task. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will deliver the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the ideal choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their residences. When they have identified some local colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when comparing vet tech programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate choice. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the varied responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you wish to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the primary factor will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of tasks that they can perform within the Juneau AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of 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 techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive 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 veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires four years. 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 work options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Juneau AK laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Schools Offered
An approach that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Juneau AK veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for example for travel and study materials, may be lower 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 certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is provided for a complete 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.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you should have decided on which veterinarian credential that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Juneau AK area as well as across the United States, you should ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to select a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that ensures you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited schools. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Juneau AK area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with internet school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions involving your specific schools. As a final pointer, contact some Juneau AK vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Juneau AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop relationships in the local vet community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate may signify that the teachers were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the college has an excellent reputation within the Juneau AK veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Juneau AK programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Juneau AK home, you need to make sure 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, particularly if the school is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do opt to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. Of course taking classes online may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you determine if the vet programs you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Juneau AK. Others might only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online college is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.
Choose the Best Juneau Veterinary Technologist Program
Enrolling in the right veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Future students thinking about veterinary technician colleges need to make their determination based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you pick 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 provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Juneau Alaska.