How to Select the Right Vet Technician School Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician college near Lake Havasu City AZ may at first seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to find and enroll in a college that will furnish the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing programs so that you can make the proper choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their residences. After they have found some local schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important considerations when evaluating vet tech programs, they are not the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be looked into also. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the vet technician programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate selection. We have furnished several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll discuss the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the principal factor will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of functions that they can perform within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- 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 finishing a certificate program at a community college or trade school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training in contrast to assistants and usually earn a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complex functions, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and essentially perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes four years. Therefore 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 career opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. A number may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Lake Havasu City AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An alternative that might be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for instance for traveling and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and across the United States, you must ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to select a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It's essential that you make sure that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously stated, among 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 screening process that verifies you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for many Lake Havasu City AZ area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinary vocational school or college and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on internet school rating websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Lake Havasu City AZ vet clinics 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 recommend some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help establish associations in the local vet community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate could signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the school has an excellent reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you most likely will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between teachers and students. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we already 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 Lake Havasu City AZ home, you must confirm 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 drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located near or in a large city. In addition, if you do choose to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees particularly for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online might be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it's essential that you determine if the veterinarian colleges you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Lake Havasu City AZ. Some might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are available before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online program is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your busy life.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Vet Technologist College
Enrolling in the ideal vet tech program is an important first step to starting a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students thinking about vet tech schools must make their selection based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the best school, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.