How to Find the Right Vet Technician Degree Program Near Gilbert Arizona
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Gilbert AZ could at first feel like a daunting endeavor. After all, you need to search for 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 go about reviewing and comparing programs so that you can make the best choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their homes. Once they have identified some area colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when comparing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are reviewing before you make a final decision. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore 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 whether you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are numerous functions that they can carry out within the Gilbert AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, 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 technicians in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared to assistants and typically earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more involved duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and basically perform the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years to complete. So the main distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Gilbert AZ labs or research facilities as well.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can usually be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Gilbert AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for instance for commuting and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech school may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
By now you should have determined which veterinarian degree that you want to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Gilbert AZ area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many future students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to choose a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the veterinary technician college 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 an extensive screening process that verifies you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Gilbert AZ area veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include looking on internet school ranking 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 infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Gilbert AZ veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with Gilbert AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate might 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 assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may signify that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Gilbert AZ veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you probably will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Gilbert AZ colleges you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Gilbert AZ home, you need to make sure 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 school is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do choose to attend 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 could be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's imperative that you ascertain if the vet colleges you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Gilbert AZ. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss due to sickness, work or family emergencies. You may find that an online college is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Gilbert Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students looking into veterinary technician schools must make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online programs 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 veterinary technician in Gilbert Arizona.