How to Choose the Right Veterinary Technician Program Near Catalina Arizona
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Catalina AZ might at first feel like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you must search for and enroll in a program that will deliver the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle assessing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the right selection? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their residences. After they have found some area colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when evaluating veterinary technician programs, they are not the only significant 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 should be asking the vet tech schools you are reviewing before you make a final selection. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary factor will undoubtedly be which specialization interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are a number of functions that they can perform within the Catalina AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing 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 instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complex duties, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires four years to complete. 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 career opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet 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 AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Veterinary Technician Schools Offered
An option that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using various methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Catalina AZ veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for example for travel and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make certain that the online school that you choose 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 complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech school may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you wish to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Catalina AZ area as well as across the United States, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to select a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's essential that you verify that the veterinary technician college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous review process that verifies you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Catalina AZ area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet college or trade school and program you choose should have an exceptional reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on online school rating 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 infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Catalina AZ veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Catalina AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local vet community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate might mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may mean that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Catalina AZ veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might indicate that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Catalina AZ programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Get feedback from students concerning 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 College Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Catalina AZ home, you need to confirm 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, 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 costs particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinarian colleges you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Catalina AZ. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Enroll in the Best Catalina Vet Technologist School
Enrolling in the appropriate vet tech college is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students thinking about vet tech colleges must make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the ideal college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Catalina Arizona.