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How to Select the Right Vet Tech Training Near Kodiak Alaska

Kodiak Alaska vet technician holding nervous dogFulfilling your long term goal of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech college near Kodiak AK may initially seem like a challenging task. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a school that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing colleges so that you can make the best selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their homes. Once they have located some local colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are significant considerations when assessing vet technician programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are reviewing before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Kodiak Alaska veterinary technician examining kittens

One of the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you want to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the principal factor will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous tasks that they can carry out within the Kodiak AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the typical veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each specialty.

  • Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
  • Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared with assistants and generally acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense 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 included in more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist 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 required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.

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

Vet Tech Online Programs Offered

Kodiak Alaska dog wearing surgical coneAn alternative that might be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many 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 clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for example for travel and study supplies, may be lower compared to more standard classroom programs. Just make sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech school may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs

At this point you probably have selected which veterinarian credential that you want to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Kodiak AK area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other important qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to enroll in a college that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are considering.

Is the Veterinary School Accredited?  It's imperative that you make sure that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive screening 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 available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a precondition for employment for many Kodiak AK area veterinary clinics and hospitals.

What is the Program's Reputation?  The vet college or trade school and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on online school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, get in touch with some Kodiak AK veterinarians that you might want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The best approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with Kodiak AK veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships 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 vet tech program may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A lower rate could signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may indicate that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Kodiak AK veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could 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 may get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kodiak AK schools you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to participate in some 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 teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.

Where is the Campus Located?  Okay, we already covered location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Kodiak AK home, you have to make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online could be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian schools you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate 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 might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet education into your active life.

Learn More About Kodiak Vet Technician Programs

Enroll in the Right Kodiak Vet Technologist College

Choosing the right vet tech program is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Future students looking into vet tech schools need to make their decision based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech programs 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 decision. And by picking the ideal program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Kodiak Alaska.


 

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