How to Pick the Right Veterinary Technician Degree Program Near Maricopa Arizona
Achieving your long term dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet tech program near Maricopa AZ might initially feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the proper training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the best choice? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their residences. When they have found some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although expense and location are significant factors when evaluating vet tech programs, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate decision. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the various responsibilities 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 technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the primary determiner will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can perform within the Maricopa AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or perform surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, 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 technicians in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training in contrast to assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes four years. Therefore the main difference 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 potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Maricopa AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Vet Tech Online Programs Offered
An option that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are provided over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Maricopa AZ veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for travel and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school 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 included for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the perfect choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Technician Schools
At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian credential that you would like to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in the Maricopa AZ area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other essential qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to select a college that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech colleges that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you verify that the veterinary technician program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of 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 thorough review 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 a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is often a requirement for employment for a number of Maricopa AZ area vet practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you choose must have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and speaking with the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations involving your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Maricopa AZ vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They might even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to get practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with Maricopa AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate might mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might indicate that the program has an outstanding reputation within the Maricopa AZ vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Maricopa AZ schools you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Maricopa AZ home, you have to confirm that the driving time is compatible with 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 close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes may be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it's important that you determine if the vet colleges you are considering offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Maricopa AZ. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered prior to enrolling. Also, 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 ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Choose the Best Maricopa Veterinary Technologist College
Picking the ideal vet tech school is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Students looking into veterinary technician schools must make their selection based on several key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, 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 programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the right program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Maricopa Arizona.