How to Select the Right Veterinary Technician College Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Lake Havasu City AZ might initially seem like a challenging undertaking. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a college that will furnish the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet tech. But just how do you tackle reviewing and comparing programs so that you can make the correct choice? Many future students launch their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their homes. After they have identified some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are important factors when assessing vet tech programs, they are not the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated as well. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary 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 go over the various roles of veterinary technicians and the training options available.
Vet Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference might be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are a number of tasks that they can carry out within the Lake Havasu City AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most instances 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 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 associated with more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared with assistants and usually earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states currently mandate that veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and for the most part carry out the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years. So the only real distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist's more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Some 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 alternative that may make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available through the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally 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 some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for example for traveling and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you would like to earn, and if you intend 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 USA, you need to ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other important qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to enroll in a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the vet tech schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the veterinary technician college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone an extensive screening process that ensures you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a requirement for employment for many Lake Havasu City AZ area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you select must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet 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 violations relating to your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians that you may want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend 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 medical setting. Ask if the schools you are looking at have internship programs established with Lake Havasu City AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish connections in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A lower rate could suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might mean that the program has an exceptional reputation within the Lake Havasu City AZ vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify 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 bigger, you probably will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Lake Havasu City AZ schools you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Lake Havasu City AZ home, you have to make sure that the commuting time is compatible with 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 campus is located near or in a larger city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, many 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 classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are offered before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Choose the Best Lake Havasu City Veterinary Technologist School
Choosing the appropriate veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to starting a gratifying career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students thinking about veterinary technician programs must make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you decide on 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 included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the ideal program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Lake Havasu City Arizona.