How to Select the Best Vet Technician Program Near Flagstaff Arizona
Fulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Flagstaff AZ may initially feel like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you need to find and enroll in a college that will deliver the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the proper selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by looking for schools that are close to their homes. After they have identified some local colleges, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important factors when comparing vet technician programs, they are by no means 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 veterinary technician programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate choice. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the varied responsibilities of vet techs and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are many jobs that they can perform within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and basically carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes four years. Therefore the main distinction 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 required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may 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 Flagstaff AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Flagstaff AZ veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for instance for traveling and study materials, may be lower compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make certain that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
By now you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you want to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ area as well as across the United States, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to select a college that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the veterinary technician program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough review process that verifies you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is often a requirement for employment for many Flagstaff AZ area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you choose should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on internet school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final tip, contact some Flagstaff AZ veterinarians that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the schools you are considering have internship programs established with Flagstaff AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A low rate could signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Flagstaff AZ veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could indicate that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Flagstaff AZ schools you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Flagstaff AZ home, you need to confirm that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do choose to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you determine if the veterinary schools you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, 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 available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet training into your active life.
Choose the Right Flagstaff Veterinary Technologist Program
Picking the ideal veterinary technician college is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Students looking into vet tech programs need to make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating 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 reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Flagstaff Arizona.