How to Find the Right Vet Tech School Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Lake Havasu City AZ might initially feel like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a school that will deliver the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the correct choice? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for schools that are close to their residences. After they have located some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are significant factors when comparing vet technician schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to 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 an ultimate choice. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different duties of vet techs and the training alternatives offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the main factor will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of tasks that they can carry out within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the standard vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared 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 veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically carry out the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years. Therefore the main difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Lake Havasu City AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Vet Tech Online Schools Offered
An approach that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, such as for travel and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make certain that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you probably have selected which veterinarian credential that you wish to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area as well as across the Country, you should ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech colleges that you are considering.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the vet tech school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously mentioned, 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 a demanding review process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for many Lake Havasu City AZ area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the vet community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with online school ranking websites and checking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations regarding your targeted schools. As a final pointer, get in touch with some Lake Havasu City AZ vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical setting. Find out if the schools you are looking at have internship programs set up with Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local vet community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician program may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A low rate could signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could mean that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Get feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the College Located? Of course, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from your Lake Havasu City AZ home, you have to confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, 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. 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 costs particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's imperative that you ascertain if the veterinary programs you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night near Lake Havasu City AZ. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family issues. You may find that an online school is the best way to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City Vet Technologist Program
Picking the right veterinary technician college is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into vet tech colleges must make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you enroll in 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 reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Lake Havasu City Arizona.