How to Select the Right Vet Technician School Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Achieving your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Catalina Foothills AZ may at first feel like a challenging endeavor. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the correct selection? Many potential students start their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their homes. Once they have found some local schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important factors when assessing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs should be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate decision. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore 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 if you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the primary determiner will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are many functions that they can perform within the Catalina Foothills AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of 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 trade 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. Usually they are not associated with more involved undertakings, for example assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared with assistants and normally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex activities, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires four years. 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, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Catalina Foothills AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An option that may make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using various methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Catalina Foothills AZ veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for instance for commuting and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online vet tech school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have decided on which veterinarian degree that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Catalina Foothills AZ area as well as across the United States, you need to ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously touched on other essential qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are looking at.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive review process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Catalina Foothills AZ area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you select should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on online school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, call some Catalina Foothills AZ vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Catalina Foothills AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A low rate might suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may signify that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Catalina Foothills AZ home, you have to make sure 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, especially if the school is located near or in a larger city. Also, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinary colleges you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Catalina Foothills AZ. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family issues. You may discover that an online college is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Foothills Vet Technologist School
Picking the ideal vet tech college is an important first step to starting a gratifying career providing treatment and care for animals. Potential students thinking about vet tech schools need to make their selection based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the right school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Catalina Foothills Arizona.