How to Find the Right Vet Tech College Near Juneau Alaska
Realizing your long term aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Juneau AK could initially feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you need to find and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle analyzing and contrasting programs so that you can make the best selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their residences. Once they have located some local schools, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant considerations when comparing vet tech programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet tech programs you are reviewing before you make a final decision. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal factor will most likely be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Juneau AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and usually earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are included in more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years to complete. So the main 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 opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Juneau AK laboratories or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An alternative that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Juneau AK veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, such as for commuting and study supplies, can be lower compared to more standard classroom programs. Just be sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is furnished 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 perfect option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you should have selected which veterinarian credential that you want to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Juneau AK area as well as across the Country, you should ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that confirms you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a requirement for employment for many Juneau AK area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian college or trade school and program you enroll in must have an exceptional reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include checking with online 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 complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final pointer, phone some Juneau AK vet clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Juneau AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local vet community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate could signify that the instructors 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 college has an excellent reputation within the Juneau AK veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate 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 larger sized, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Juneau AK schools you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds 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 topic. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Juneau AK home, you need to confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's imperative that you ascertain if the veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of 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 class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family responsibilities. You may find that an online college is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Juneau Veterinary Technologist College
Enrolling in the right vet tech college is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet tech schools must make their determination based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the right school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Juneau Alaska.