How to Select the Best Vet Tech Degree Program Near Juneau Alaska
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Juneau AK might at first seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a college that will deliver the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you approach evaluating and contrasting schools so that you can make the proper choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their residences. After they have identified some nearby schools, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when evaluating veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet tech programs you are evaluating before you make a final decision. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different duties of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are a number of jobs that they can perform within the Juneau AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have gone through 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 veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared to assistants and typically obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved functions, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires four years. 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 work options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Juneau AK laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian school 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 accessible. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can usually be fulfilled 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 reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for instance for traveling and study materials, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the perfect choice for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Juneau AK area and across the United States, you must ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already touched on other essential qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough screening process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is frequently a prerequisite for employment for a number of Juneau AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job placement 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 department if there have been any grievances or infractions concerning your targeted schools. As a final pointer, phone some Juneau AK veterinarians that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even recommend one or more programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the programs you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Juneau AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate might indicate that the teachers were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the school has an excellent reputation within the Juneau AK vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you probably will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Juneau AK colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Get evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously talked about 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 confirm that the commuting time fits into 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 in or close by a larger 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 higher tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you determine if the veterinary programs you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Juneau AK. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies. You may find that an online school is the ideal way to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Choose the Right Juneau Veterinary Technologist School
Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician school is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about veterinary technician programs must make their selection based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Juneau Alaska.