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How to Choose the Right Veterinary Technician School Near Ketchikan Alaska

Ketchikan Alaska vet technician holding nervous dogRealizing your long term goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech school near Ketchikan AK may initially feel like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you have to find and enroll in a program that will deliver the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing programs so that you can make the right selection? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their residences. When they have identified some area colleges, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician programs you are reviewing before you make a final selection. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Ketchikan Alaska veterinary tech examining kittens

Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the principal determiner will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Ketchikan AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each specialty.

  • Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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 performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
  • Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared to assistants and usually earn 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 basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are included in more complicated activities, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires 4 years. Therefore the only real distinction 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 additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.

Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Ketchikan AK labs or research facilities as well.

Vet Tech Online Schools Offered

Ketchikan Alaska dog wearing surgical coneAn approach that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Ketchikan AK veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, such as for traveling and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school that you choose 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 dedicated enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online vet tech program may be the perfect choice for you.

What to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges

At this point you probably have decided on which veterinarian credential that you would like to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Ketchikan AK area as well as across the United States, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other essential qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech colleges that you are reviewing.

Is the Vet Program Accredited?  It's essential that you confirm that the vet tech college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous review process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Ketchikan AK area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The veterinary college or trade school and program you select should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final pointer, call some Ketchikan AK vet clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend some colleges not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The most effective means to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Ketchikan AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local vet community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.

Is there a Job Placement Program?  Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate may signify that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Ketchikan AK veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.

How Big are the Classes?  If the classes are larger in size, you may receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Ketchikan AK programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Get 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 methods of teaching.

Where is the Campus Located?  Of course, we already talked about location, but there are several 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 confirm 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 drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located close by or within a large city. Also, if you do choose to attend 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. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible 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 in the evenings near Ketchikan AK. Others may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family issues. You might find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.

Learn More About Ketchikan Vet Technician Schools

Enroll in the Best Ketchikan Veterinary Technologist Program

Choosing the ideal veterinary technician school is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into vet tech programs 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 commonly handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Ketchikan Alaska.


 

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