How to Select the Right Vet Technician Program Near Kodiak Alaska
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Kodiak AK might initially seem like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you need to find and enroll in a college that will deliver the appropriate training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting schools so that you can make the proper choice? Many future students start their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their residences. After they have identified some area colleges, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant factors when evaluating veterinary technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician programs you are evaluating before you make a final choice. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the varied responsibilities of vet techs and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of jobs that they can perform within the Kodiak AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most 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 performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training in contrast to assistants and typically obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex duties, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes four years. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Kodiak AK labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Schools Offered
An alternative that might make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most 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 Kodiak AK veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for example for traveling and study supplies, may be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary credential that you wish to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Kodiak AK area and across the USA, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other important qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to select a program that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the vet tech program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough review process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Kodiak AK area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions concerning your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Kodiak AK veterinarians that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They might even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Find out if the programs you are looking at have internship programs established with Kodiak AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A lower rate may suggest that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Kodiak AK veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Kodiak AK colleges you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are several more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Kodiak AK home, you need to confirm 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, particularly if the school is located close by or within a large city. Also, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's imperative that you determine if the vet colleges you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Kodiak AK. Others may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Kodiak Veterinary Technologist School
Choosing the appropriate vet tech college is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students considering vet tech colleges must 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 take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the ideal program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Kodiak Alaska.