How to Find the Right Veterinary Technician School Near Apache Junction Arizona
Fulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Apache Junction AZ could initially seem like a challenging task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a program that will furnish the necessary training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the right choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have found some area schools, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when evaluating vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet tech programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate decision. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the various duties of vet techs and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you plan to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the principal factor will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous tasks that they can carry out within the Apache Junction AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a structured 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 performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and normally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex activities, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Apache Junction AZ labs or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An approach that may be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Apache Junction AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for traveling and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have selected which veterinarian credential that you want to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Apache Junction AZ area and across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. 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 gone through a thorough review process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a requirement for employment for many Apache Junction AZ area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations regarding your specific schools. As a final tip, phone some Apache Junction AZ veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Apache Junction AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish associations in the local vet community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A low rate might suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Apache Junction AZ vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could 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 may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Apache Junction AZ programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Apache Junction AZ home, you need to confirm that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do choose to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you ascertain if the vet schools you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Apache Junction AZ. Others may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of sickness, work or family issues. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Apache Junction Veterinary Technologist College
Choosing the right veterinary technician program is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for animals. Potential students considering veterinary technician colleges must make their determination based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you select 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 provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Apache Junction Arizona.