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How to Choose the Right Veterinary Technician College Near Catalina Foothills Arizona

Catalina Foothills Arizona veterinary technician calming anxious dogAchieving your lifelong dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Catalina Foothills AZ could at first feel like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a school that will furnish the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing programs so that you can make the ideal selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their homes. When they have identified some area schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important factors when comparing vet technician schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated as well. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician schools you are evaluating before you make a final decision. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various duties of vet techs and the training options offered.

Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Catalina Foothills Arizona vet technician examining kittens

One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are numerous functions that they can carry out within the Catalina Foothills AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each specialty.

  • Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through 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 vets and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved undertakings, such as assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
  • Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared to assistants and usually 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 basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are included in more involved activities, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years. 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 work opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.

Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Catalina Foothills AZ labs or research facilities as well.

Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered

Catalina Foothills Arizona dog wearing surgical coneAn alternative that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using various methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Catalina Foothills AZ veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for example for traveling and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Vet Tech Schools

By now you should have decided on which veterinarian credential that you wish to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Catalina Foothills AZ area and across the Country, you must ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.

Is the Veterinary Program Accredited?  It's important that you confirm that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding review process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Catalina Foothills AZ area veterinary clinics and hospitals.

What is the Program's Reputation?  The vet trade school or college and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with online school ranking websites and speaking with 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 specific schools. As a final recommendation, contact some Catalina Foothills AZ veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend one or more programs not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The most effective means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs set up with Catalina Foothills AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build relationships in the local vet community and help in the search for employment after graduation.

Is there a Job Assistance Program?  Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate may suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the school has an excellent reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify that the training is not highly 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, you may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Catalina Foothills AZ colleges you are looking at what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the School Located?  Yes, we already covered location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Catalina Foothills AZ home, you have to make sure 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 drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, 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 fees particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And last, it's important that you determine if the veterinarian schools you are considering 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 at night near Catalina Foothills AZ. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.

Find Out More About Catalina Foothills Veterinary Tech Colleges

Choose the Right Catalina Foothills Vet Technologist School

Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician college is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students looking into veterinary technician programs need to make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have discussed, it's imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the ideal program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Catalina Foothills Arizona.


 

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