How to Find the Best Veterinary Technician College Near Maricopa Arizona
Fulfilling your long term goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician school near Maricopa AZ could initially feel like a daunting endeavor. After all, you must locate and enroll in a college that will furnish the proper training so that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing programs so that you can make the right selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their homes. When they have located some local colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations when comparing veterinary technician schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet tech programs you are looking at before you make a final decision. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we'll talk about the different roles of vet techs and the training alternatives available.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the primary factor will most likely be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are numerous duties that they can perform within the Maricopa AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the conventional vet practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from 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 performance of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more involved duties, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires 4 years. Therefore the only real 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 opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Maricopa AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Veterinary Technician Schools Offered
An option that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The curriculum 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 portion can normally be fulfilled 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 some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, such as for travel and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school 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 included for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician school may be the perfect choice for you.
Things to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
By now you should have selected which veterinary degree that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Maricopa AZ area as well as across the Country, you need to ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you need to enroll in a college 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 vet tech colleges that you are considering.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's essential that you confirm that the veterinary technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. 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 thorough review process that verifies you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is frequently a prerequisite for employment for a number of Maricopa AZ area veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet college or vocational school and program you choose must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary community. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating 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 violations concerning your specific schools. As a final recommendation, get in touch with some Maricopa AZ vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with Maricopa AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help establish connections in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A low rate could mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study 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 ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the school has an excellent reputation within the Maricopa AZ veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may mean that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement 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 one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Maricopa AZ programs you are considering what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to attend a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we previously discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from your Maricopa AZ home, you must make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the campus is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do opt to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending classes online could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are exploring 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 at night near Maricopa AZ. Others might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family responsibilities. You might find that an online program is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Enroll in the Right Maricopa Vet Technologist Program
Enrolling in the right vet tech school is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for animals. Future students considering veterinary technician schools must make their determination based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Maricopa Arizona.