How to Pick the Right Veterinary Technician Training Program Near Flagstaff Arizona
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech school near Flagstaff AZ may initially feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you must find and enroll in a program that will deliver the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle assessing and comparing colleges so that you can make the best selection? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their homes. Once they have identified some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are important concerns when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation should be looked into also. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are evaluating before you make a final choice. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the various duties 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 want to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are many duties that they can perform within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have undergone a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by finishing 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, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and generally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 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 career opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also 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 emergency care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Flagstaff AZ labs or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Flagstaff AZ veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, such as for travel and study supplies, may be lower compared to more standard classroom programs. 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 courses and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician school may be the right option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
By now you should have decided on which veterinarian degree that you wish to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Flagstaff AZ area as well as across the USA, you should ask some relevant questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the vet tech 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). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a demanding review process that confirms you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a precondition for employment for many Flagstaff AZ area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on internet school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations concerning your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, contact some Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They might even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the programs you are looking at have internship programs established with Flagstaff AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A lower rate could signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Flagstaff AZ vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Flagstaff AZ colleges you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to 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 vet tech classes from your Flagstaff AZ home, you need to make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the college is located near or in a large city. In addition, if you do choose 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 online classes may be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you find out if the vet programs you are looking at 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 Flagstaff AZ. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Choose the Right Flagstaff Veterinary Technologist Program
Picking the ideal veterinary technician program is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students looking into vet tech programs must make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's very important 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 schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Flagstaff Arizona.