How to Pick the Right Vet Technician School Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Realizing your long term dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Lake Havasu City AZ could at first feel like a daunting endeavor. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a school that will furnish the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about analyzing and comparing colleges so that you can make the correct choice? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their residences. Once they have located some area schools, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant considerations when evaluating veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be evaluated also. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are evaluating before you make a final selection. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the varied duties of veterinary technicians and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the main factor will probably be which specialty interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous tasks that they can perform within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get 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 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 involved in more complicated functions, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years to complete. So the only real distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Lake Havasu City AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Programs Offered
An alternative that might be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinarian school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered over 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 veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can usually be fulfilled 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, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for instance for traveling and study materials, can be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure 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 furnished for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
By now you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you wish to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area as well as across the Country, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It's imperative that you verify that the vet tech program 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 undergone a rigorous screening process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a requirement for employment for many Lake Havasu City AZ area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on online school ranking 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 concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs set up with Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local vet community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A low rate may mean that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may indicate that the school has an excellent reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you may receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students concerning 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? Yes, we already covered location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Lake Havasu City AZ home, you must make sure that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the college is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do choose to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you find out if the vet schools you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Lake Havasu City AZ. Some might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family issues. You may find that an online college is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your hectic life.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Vet Technologist School
Picking the ideal vet tech program is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students considering veterinary technician schools need to make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animal patients 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 online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the right college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Lake Havasu City Arizona.