How to Enroll In the Best Vet Tech Program Near Kenai Alaska
Achieving your long term goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Kenai AK might initially seem like a daunting task. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing colleges so that you can make the right selection? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their homes. After they have found some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are reviewing before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal factor will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Kenai AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard vet practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have gone through a formal 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 trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared to assistants and usually obtain 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 fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real distinction 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 also required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Kenai AK labs or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An approach that might 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. Since the classes are provided through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Kenai AK veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for example for travel and study materials, can be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Schools
At this point you should have determined which veterinarian degree that you want to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Kenai AK area and across the United States, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the vet tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, among 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 demanding review process that verifies you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a requirement for employment for many Kenai AK area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you choose should have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations concerning your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, call some Kenai AK veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with Kenai AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish connections in the local vet community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate might mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Kenai AK veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kenai AK colleges you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Kenai AK home, you have to make certain that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out 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 large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs particularly for state and community 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 find out if the veterinarian programs you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Kenai AK. Some may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family issues. You might discover that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet education into your active life.
Choose the Right Kenai Veterinary Technologist Program
Choosing the right vet tech college is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students thinking about veterinary technician schools need to make their selection based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the best college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Kenai Alaska.