How to Find the Best Vet Technician Training Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Realizing your long term 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 task. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a program that will furnish the appropriate training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about assessing and comparing programs so that you can make the best selection? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their homes. When they have found some local schools, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when evaluating veterinary technician schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician programs you are evaluating 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 varied roles of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is if 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 commit to your education, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have undergone a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared to assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and basically carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years. 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 job opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Lake Havasu City AZ labs or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to vet school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered through the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, such as for travel and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more traditional 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 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 perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you should have determined which veterinary degree that you wish to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area and across the Country, you need to ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many potential students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to select a program that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are considering.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's important that you make sure that the vet tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that verifies you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Lake Havasu City AZ area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you choose must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions relating to your targeted schools. As a final tip, call some Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs established with Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help establish relationships in the local veterinary community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate could signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the school has an outstanding reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarian 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 assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Lake Havasu City AZ programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously talked about location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Lake Havasu City AZ home, you must make certain 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 close by a larger city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in 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 online classes might be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you find out if the vet schools you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Lake Havasu City AZ. Some may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies. You may find that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Lake Havasu City Veterinary Technologist Program
Picking the appropriate veterinary technician college is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students thinking about vet tech colleges need to make their decision based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and assist 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 excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online schools 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 decision. And by picking the best program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.