How to Find the Best Vet Technician Degree Program Near Flagstaff Arizona
Fulfilling your lifelong dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech college near Flagstaff AZ may at first feel like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a program that will provide the proper training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about assessing and contrasting schools so that you can make the best choice? Many future students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their residences. After they have found some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered also. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make a final choice. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the different roles of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have undergone a formal 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 veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared with assistants and typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that 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 earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically 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 examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. A number may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Flagstaff AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using various methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can usually be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Flagstaff AZ veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for example for traveling and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make certain that the program 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 furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary credential that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ area as well as across the USA, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to enroll in a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the vet tech program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 screening process that confirms you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a requirement for employment for a number of Flagstaff AZ area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with internet 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 grievances or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final pointer, phone some Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Flagstaff AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help build relationships in the local veterinarian community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate may signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might signify that the school has an excellent reputation within the Flagstaff AZ veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ schools you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Flagstaff AZ home, you have to make certain 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 commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do decide to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online could be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's essential that you determine if the vet schools you are considering offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Flagstaff AZ. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure 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 work, sickness or family emergencies. You may find that an online college is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your active life.
Choose the Right Flagstaff Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the right vet tech program is an important first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students looking into vet tech schools need to make their determination based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you choose 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 included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Flagstaff Arizona.