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How to Enroll In the Best Veterinary Technician Degree Program Near Casa Grande Arizona

Casa Grande Arizona veterinary tech holding anxious dogFulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Casa Grande AZ may initially feel like a daunting task. After all, you need to find and enroll in a program that will deliver the proper training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the best selection? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their residences. Once they have identified some local colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant factors when comparing vet technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet tech programs you are reviewing before you make a final choice. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training options available.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Casa Grande Arizona veterinary technician examining kittens

One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main factor will most likely be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many duties that they can perform within the Casa Grande AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.

  • Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their typical responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
  • Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and normally obtain a 2 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 general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved duties, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and essentially perform the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.

Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Casa Grande AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.

Vet Tech Online Programs Offered

Casa Grande Arizona pup wearing surgical coneAn alternative that might make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided through the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using various methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Casa Grande AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, for instance for commuting and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make certain that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online vet tech school may be the right choice for you.

Questions to Ask Vet Tech Programs

By now you probably have decided on which veterinary degree that you want to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Casa Grande AZ area and across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are looking at.

Is the Veterinary School Accredited?  It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough screening process that confirms you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a precondition for employment for many Casa Grande AZ area veterinary clinics and hospitals.

What is the School's Reputation?  The veterinary vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community. 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 pointers include checking with internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations involving your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Casa Grande AZ vet clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The best means to get practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are considering have internship programs arranged with Casa Grande AZ veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help develop associations in the local vet community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.

Is Job Placement Offered?  Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A low rate may indicate that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Casa Grande AZ veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might signify that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.

How Large are the Classes?  If the classes are larger in size, you probably will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.

Where is the School Located?  Yes, we already talked about location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Casa Grande AZ home, you have to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially 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 increased tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.

Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule?  And finally, it's imperative that you find out if the veterinary programs you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Casa Grande AZ. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online college is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your active life.

Learn More About Casa Grande Vet Tech Programs

Choose the Right Casa Grande Vet Technologist College

Choosing the ideal veterinary technician school is a crucial first step to beginning a gratifying career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students looking into veterinary technician colleges must make their decision based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the right program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Casa Grande Arizona.


 

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