How to Choose the Best Vet Tech Program Near Oro Valley Arizona
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Oro Valley AZ could at first seem like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a college that will provide the proper training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach evaluating and contrasting schools so that you can make the correct selection? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their residences. Once they have found some area schools, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are important concerns when assessing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician programs you are evaluating before you make a final decision. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll go over the different duties of vet techs and the training options offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the primary factor will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are many functions that they can perform within the Oro Valley AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the duties and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared to assistants and normally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated functions, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes four years to complete. So 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 work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Oro Valley AZ laboratories or research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Technician Programs Offered
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Oro Valley AZ veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for traveling and study supplies, may be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Programs
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary credential that you would like to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Oro Valley AZ area as well as across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already mentioned other important qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to enroll in a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you need to ask the vet tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It's important that you confirm that the vet tech school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, among 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 rigorous review process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a requirement for employment for many Oro Valley AZ area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with online school rating websites and contacting the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final pointer, phone some Oro Valley AZ veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective means to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs set up with Oro Valley AZ veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinary community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician college can 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 evaluating. A low rate may mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the program has an excellent reputation within the Oro Valley AZ veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Oro Valley AZ schools you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get feedback from students concerning 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 College Located? Of course, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Oro Valley AZ home, you must make sure that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won't be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the school is located in or close by a large city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's essential that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Oro Valley AZ. Others may only be able to go to classes 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online school is the best way to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Choose the Best Oro Valley Veterinary Technologist College
Choosing the appropriate vet tech college is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students thinking about vet tech schools must make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it's very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by picking the ideal college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Oro Valley Arizona.