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How to Choose the Right Vet Tech Degree Program Near Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert Arizona vet tech holding anxious dogAchieving your long term goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Gilbert AZ may at first feel like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a college that will provide the proper training so that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you approach reviewing and contrasting programs so that you can make the ideal selection? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for schools that are close to their residences. After they have identified some area schools, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are important factors when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated as well. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician programs you are evaluating before you make a final selection. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll go over the varied roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives offered.

Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Gilbert Arizona veterinary technician examining kittens

One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the principal determiner will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Gilbert AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the conventional veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialty.

  • Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice 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 vets and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
  • Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part carry out the same job functions. They are required to obtain 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 more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.

Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in  Gilbert AZ laboratories or research facilities also.

Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered

Gilbert Arizona dog wearing surgical coneAn alternative that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical 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 many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for instance for traveling and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more standard classroom programs. Just be sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs

At this point you should have determined which veterinarian degree that you want to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Gilbert AZ area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the vet tech schools that you are looking at.

Is the Vet School Accredited?  It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, among 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 ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a requirement for employment for a number of Gilbert AZ area veterinarian practices and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The vet college or trade school and program you select should have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with internet school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final pointer, call some Gilbert AZ veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The most effective way to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the programs you are looking at have internship programs set up with Gilbert AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop relationships in the local veterinary community and help in the search for employment after graduation.

Is there a Job Assistance Program?  Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate may suggest that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Gilbert AZ vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.

How Large are the Classes?  If the classes are larger, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Gilbert AZ programs you are looking at what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.

Where is the Campus Located?  Okay, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Gilbert AZ home, you have to confirm that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.

Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule?  And finally, it's important that you determine if the vet colleges you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Gilbert AZ. Others might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss due to sickness, work or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online school is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.

Find Out More About Gilbert Veterinary Tech Colleges

Choose the Best Gilbert Vet Technologist Program

Picking the right veterinary technician college is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students looking into vet tech colleges need to make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech 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 selecting the right program, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Gilbert Arizona.


 

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