How to Find the Right Veterinary Technician Program Near Casa Grande Arizona
Realizing your lifelong dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech program near Casa Grande AZ could at first seem like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a program that will deliver the necessary training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the ideal selection? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for schools that are close to their homes. After they have located some local colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when assessing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make a final choice. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the varied responsibilities of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you desire to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the main determiner will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are a number of tasks that they can perform within the Casa Grande AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the conventional veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions 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 practice, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. 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 compared to assistants and typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Casa Grande AZ labs or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Casa Grande AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for commuting and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal choice for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary credential that you would like to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Casa Grande AZ area and across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding screening process that verifies you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is frequently a requirement for employment for many Casa Grande AZ area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on online school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations involving your specific schools. As a final suggestion, call some Casa Grande AZ vet clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with Casa Grande AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate may indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may mean that the college has an outstanding reputation within the Casa Grande AZ vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might indicate that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Casa Grande AZ colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations from students concerning 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 School Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Casa Grande AZ home, you need to make certain that the driving time fits into 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 larger city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online may be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the vet schools you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Casa Grande AZ. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are available before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss because of sickness, work or family issues. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet training into your active life.
Enroll in the Best Casa Grande Veterinary Technologist Program
Selecting the ideal vet tech school is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students thinking about veterinary technician colleges must make their determination based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the right college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Casa Grande Arizona.