How to Choose the Right Vet Tech Degree Program Near Gilbert Arizona
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Gilbert AZ could initially seem like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a school that will furnish the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach assessing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the proper choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their residences. Once they have located some area colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are significant considerations when evaluating veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate decision. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main determiner will probably be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many functions that they can carry out within the Gilbert AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have undergone a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from 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. Usually they are not associated with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training in contrast to assistants and normally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more complex duties, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes 4 years. So 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 opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Gilbert AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Schools Offered
An approach that may make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using various methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Gilbert AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, for example for traveling and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more standard classroom programs. Just make sure 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 self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech program may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
At this point you should have determined which veterinarian credential that you want to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in the Gilbert AZ area as well as across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many potential students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's important that you verify that the veterinary technician program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a demanding review process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is frequently a precondition for employment for many Gilbert AZ area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you select should have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on online 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 violations regarding your specific schools. As a final tip, call some Gilbert AZ veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Ask if the schools you are looking at have internship programs arranged with Gilbert AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local vet community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate might indicate that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the college has an excellent reputation within the Gilbert AZ veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could signify 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 probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Gilbert AZ colleges you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Gilbert AZ home, you need 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 commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located in or near a larger city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's essential that you find out if the veterinarian programs you are looking at 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 Gilbert AZ. Others might only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet education into your active life.
Choose the Best Gilbert Veterinary Technologist School
Choosing the ideal veterinary technician school is an important first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet tech schools must make their decision based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it's very important that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the right school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Gilbert Arizona.