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How to Enroll In the Right Vet Tech Training Near Maricopa Arizona

Maricopa Arizona vet technician holding nervous dogFulfilling your long term goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech college near Maricopa AZ could at first feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a school that will furnish the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the ideal selection? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their homes. When they have located some area schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant factors when comparing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary technician schools you are reviewing before you make a final decision. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll discuss the various roles of vet techs and the training alternatives available.

Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists

Maricopa Arizona veterinary technician examining kittens

One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. 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 probably be which specialization appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous tasks that they can carry out within the Maricopa AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training requirements for each position.

  • Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing 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. Generally they are not associated with more involved activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
  • Vet Technicians undergo more extensive training compared to assistants and usually obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
  • Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years. So the main 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, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.

Veterinary techs and technologists may 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  Maricopa AZ labs or research facilities also.

Online Veterinary Technician Schools Offered

Maricopa Arizona pup wearing surgical coneAn option that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are made available via the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Maricopa AZ veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary costs, such as for travel and study supplies, can be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech program may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs

At this point you probably have selected which veterinarian degree that you would like to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Maricopa AZ area and across the United States, you should ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician schools that you are reviewing.

Is the Veterinary School Accredited?  It's imperative that you confirm that the vet tech school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, 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 an extensive review process that ensures you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a requirement for employment for a number of Maricopa AZ area veterinary practices and hospitals.

What is the College's Reputation?  The veterinary trade school or college and program you select must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online school ranking websites and contacting the school's accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your specific schools. As a final pointer, call some Maricopa AZ veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest one or more schools not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The best means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with Maricopa AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship can also help build relationships in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.

Is Job Placement Provided?  Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A lower rate might mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed 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 higher placement rate might indicate that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Maricopa AZ veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might indicate that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.

How Big are the Classes?  If the classes are larger, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Maricopa AZ schools you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.

Where is the School Located?  Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet tech classes from your Maricopa AZ home, you must make sure that the driving 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, especially if the campus is located in or close by a larger 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 higher tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And finally, it's imperative that you determine if the vet programs you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night near Maricopa AZ. Some might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities. You might find that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.

Learn More About Maricopa Veterinary Tech Schools

Enroll in the Right Maricopa Veterinary Technologist Program

Choosing the appropriate vet tech program is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Students thinking about veterinary technician schools need to make their determination based on multiple key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech 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 decision. And by choosing the ideal program, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Maricopa Arizona.


 

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