How to Pick the Best Vet Tech College Near Flagstaff Arizona
Achieving your lifelong goal of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech college near Flagstaff AZ could at first seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you go about assessing and comparing programs so that you can make the right selection? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their homes. When they have found some local schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when assessing vet tech schools, they are not the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are considering before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the varied duties of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you want to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many tasks that they can perform within the Flagstaff AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training in contrast to assistants and typically obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Flagstaff AZ labs or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while going to vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most 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 veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for example for travel and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian degree that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ area as well as across the Country, you should ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other significant qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to select a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are considering.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, 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 rigorous review process that verifies you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a requirement for employment for a number of Flagstaff AZ area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on online 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 violations relating to your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Flagstaff AZ veterinarians that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best means to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the colleges you are considering have internship programs set up with Flagstaff AZ veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech program can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate could suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could indicate that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Flagstaff AZ veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flagstaff AZ programs you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Get evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we already talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Flagstaff AZ home, you must make certain 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 drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located in or near a larger city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's essential that you ascertain if the veterinarian 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. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family issues. You may discover that an online college is the best way to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Choose the Right Flagstaff Veterinary Technologist School
Picking the appropriate veterinary technician college is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Potential students looking into veterinary technician schools must make their decision based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech 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 selection. And by selecting the ideal program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Flagstaff Arizona.