How to Pick the Best Vet Technician Degree Program Near Cottonwood Arizona
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Cottonwood AZ may at first seem like a daunting task. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a school that will furnish the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach assessing and comparing colleges so that you can make the right choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have located some local colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are significant factors when assessing vet technician programs, they are not the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet tech programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different roles of vet techs and the training options offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are numerous duties that they can carry out within the Cottonwood AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements 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 completing a certificate program at a trade school or community college. 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 associated with more complex activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared to assistants and normally obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complicated functions, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires 4 years. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Cottonwood AZ labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Cottonwood AZ veterinarian 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 commuting and study supplies, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
By now you probably have selected which veterinarian credential that you would like to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Cottonwood AZ area and across the United States, you must ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's imperative that you make sure that the veterinary technician program 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). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough review process that confirms you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is in many cases a requirement for employment for a number of Cottonwood AZ area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you select must have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on online school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, contact some Cottonwood AZ veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs established with Cottonwood AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate could mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Cottonwood AZ veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cottonwood AZ colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Cottonwood AZ home, you have to confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges particularly for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online could be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's essential that you determine if the veterinarian programs you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate 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 Cottonwood AZ. Some may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family emergencies. You might find that an online school is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Cottonwood Vet Technologist School
Selecting the appropriate vet tech school is a crucial first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Students considering vet tech schools need to make their selection based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the ideal school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Cottonwood Arizona.