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How to Select the Right Veterinary Technician Program Near Kodiak Alaska

Kodiak Alaska vet tech holding nervous dogRealizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Kodiak AK could at first seem like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a program that will deliver the necessary training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you go about reviewing and contrasting schools so that you can make the proper selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for schools that are close to their residences. When they have located some local schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when comparing vet technician schools, they are not the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are reviewing before you make a final choice. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the varied roles of veterinary technicians and the training options available.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Kodiak Alaska veterinary technician examining kittens

Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you want to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal factor will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can carry out within the Kodiak AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training requirements for each specialization.

  • Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern 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. Usually they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
  • Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared to assistants and usually earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably 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 differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states currently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and basically carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years. So the main distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.

Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Kodiak AK laboratories or research facilities also.

Online Vet Tech Schools Offered

Kodiak Alaska pup wearing surgical coneAn alternative that might make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Kodiak AK veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, such as for travel and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech program may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Vet Tech Schools

By now you should have decided on which veterinary credential that you wish to attain, 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 Kodiak AK area and across the United States, you should ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other essential qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to enroll in a college that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.

Is the Veterinary College Accredited?  It's important that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, 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 demanding review process that ensures you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is often a requirement for employment for many Kodiak AK area veterinary practices and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The veterinary vocational school or college and program you select must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on online school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final pointer, phone some Kodiak AK vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The best means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs set up with Kodiak AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.

Is there a Job Assistance Program?  Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A low rate might suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Kodiak AK veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.

How Large are the Classes?  If the classes are larger, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Kodiak AK schools you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.

Where is the College Located?  Of course, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Kodiak AK home, you must make certain that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located in or near a large city. In addition, if you do opt to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.

Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule?  And finally, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinarian colleges you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Kodiak AK. Others may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family issues. You may find that an online college is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your active life.

Learn More About Kodiak Veterinary Tech Schools

Choose the Right Kodiak Vet Technologist Program

Enrolling in the right vet tech college is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students looking into veterinary technician programs need to make their decision based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you select 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 included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Kodiak Alaska.


 

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