How to Choose the Right Veterinary Technician Training Program Near Ketchikan Alaska
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Ketchikan AK might initially feel like a challenging task. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will provide the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle evaluating and comparing programs so that you can make the right choice? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have found some area colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered also. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are evaluating before you make a final choice. We have provided several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different roles of vet techs and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they both work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are numerous jobs that they can perform within the Ketchikan AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, 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 technicians in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and typically earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably 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 vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Ketchikan AK laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Ketchikan AK veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, such as for commuting and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you wish to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Ketchikan AK area and across the Country, you need to ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the veterinary technician college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding review process that confirms you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is often a prerequisite for employment for many Ketchikan AK area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary vocational school or college and program you select should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations regarding your specific schools. As a final tip, phone some Ketchikan AK vet clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs established with Ketchikan AK veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship can also help build associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate might signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Ketchikan AK veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance 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 one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Ketchikan AK colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Ketchikan AK home, you must make certain that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do decide to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's important that you ascertain if the vet programs you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Ketchikan AK. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family emergencies. You may discover that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Choose the Best Ketchikan Veterinary Technologist School
Selecting the ideal vet tech program is a crucial first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students considering veterinary technician programs need to make their decision based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the right school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Ketchikan Alaska.