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How to Choose the Right Vet Tech School Near Palmer Alaska

Palmer Alaska vet tech calming anxious dogAchieving your long term aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Palmer AK could initially feel like a challenging undertaking. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a school that will provide the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the right selection? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. After they have identified some area colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are significant factors when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make a final choice. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Palmer Alaska vet technician examining kittens

Among the first decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are many functions that they can perform within the Palmer AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the typical vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each position.

  • Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
  • Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and normally acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years to complete. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.

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

Online Veterinary Technician Schools Offered

Palmer Alaska pup wearing surgical coneAn alternative that may be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Palmer AK veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for example for travel and study materials, can be lower compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just be sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. 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 manner, an online vet tech program may be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges

At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian degree that you would like to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Palmer AK area as well as across the United States, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many potential students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other essential qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are considering.

Is the Veterinary Program Accredited?  It's important that you confirm that the veterinary technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, 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 an extensive screening process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a prerequisite for employment for many Palmer AK area vet clinics and hospitals.

What is the Program's Reputation?  The veterinarian college or trade school and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on internet school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final pointer, get in touch with some Palmer AK veterinarians that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even suggest one or more schools not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The most effective way to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs set up with Palmer AK veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local vet community and help in the search for employment after graduation.

Is there a Job Placement Program?  Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A low rate could suggest that the teachers 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 ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may signify that the school has an excellent reputation within the Palmer AK veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might mean that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.

How Large are the Classes?  If the classes are larger in size, you most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Palmer AK schools you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the School Located?  Yes, we previously talked about location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Palmer AK home, you must confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located in or near a large city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending classes online might be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And last, it's essential that you find out 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 at night near Palmer AK. Others might only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss because of sickness, work or family responsibilities. You might find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your vet training into your hectic life.

Learn More About Palmer Veterinary Technologist Schools

Enroll in the Best Palmer Veterinary Technologist School

Selecting the appropriate vet tech school is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students considering veterinary technician schools must make their decision based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as 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 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 best program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Palmer Alaska.


 

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