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How to Find the Best Vet Technician College Near Florence Arizona

Florence Arizona vet technician holding anxious dogAchieving your long term dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Florence AZ could at first feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a program that will deliver the proper training so that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing colleges so that you can make the proper selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. When they have identified some area colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important factors when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered also. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are considering before you make a final selection. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we'll explore the different duties of vet techs and the training options offered.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Florence Arizona vet technician examining kittens

One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish 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 training, but the main determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Florence AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each specialty.

  • Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, 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 techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their regular 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 compared with assistants and typically earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complex duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years to complete. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also 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 emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Florence AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.

Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered

Florence Arizona dog wearing surgical coneAn approach that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using multiple methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Florence AZ veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for commuting and study supplies, may be lower 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 agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech program may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Vet Tech Colleges

At this point you should have determined which veterinary degree that you want to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Florence AZ area and across the Country, you should ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the vet tech programs that you are looking at.

Is the Veterinary College Accredited?  It's imperative that you verify that the veterinary technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly respected 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 receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is frequently a requirement for employment for many Florence AZ area veterinary clinics and hospitals.

What is the School's Reputation?  The veterinary college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on online school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your specific schools. As a final suggestion, get in touch with some Florence AZ vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest some programs not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The most effective means to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with Florence AZ veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local veterinary community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.

Is there a Job Assistance Program?  Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A lower rate could mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may signify that the college has an excellent reputation within the Florence AZ vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could signify that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.

How Large are the Classes?  If the classes are bigger, you probably will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Florence AZ colleges you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the College Located?  Yes, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Florence AZ home, you have to confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or near a larger city. In addition, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And finally, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian programs you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Florence AZ. Others may only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies. You might find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.

Learn More About Florence Vet Technician Colleges

Enroll in the Best Florence Vet Technologist Program

Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician college is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students looking into vet tech schools must make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech colleges 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 choice. And by picking the best college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Florence Arizona.


 

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