How to Pick the Best Veterinary Technician School Near Peoria Arizona
Realizing your long term goal of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary technician program near Peoria AZ might initially seem like an overwhelming task. After all, you must find and enroll in a school that will deliver the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the correct selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their homes. After they have found some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant considerations when evaluating vet technician schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the vet tech programs you are evaluating before you make a final selection. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll talk about the different roles of vet techs and the training options offered.
Veterinary Assistants, Technicians and Technologists
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your determination might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous jobs that they can perform within the Peoria AZ veterinary practice or hospital, they can't prescribe drugs, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let's take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, 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 completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared to assistants and normally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex functions, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Peoria AZ laboratories or research facilities as well.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An option that might be a solution 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 through the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using multiple methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Peoria 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 expenditures, such as for traveling and study materials, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. 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 fashion, an online vet tech program may be the perfect choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Tech Colleges
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary credential that you would like to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Peoria AZ area and across the Country, you must ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It's imperative that you confirm that the veterinary technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Peoria AZ area veterinary practices and hospitals.
What is the College's Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on 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 complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, call some Peoria AZ veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are considering have internship programs arranged with Peoria AZ veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help build relationships in the local veterinarian community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a vet tech school may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate could indicate that the teachers were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the school has an exceptional reputation within the Peoria AZ veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might mean 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 larger, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Peoria AZ schools you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we already discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary technician classes from your Peoria AZ home, you need to make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won't be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the school is located near or in a larger city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending online classes may be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's essential that you determine if the veterinary colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Peoria AZ. Some might only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies. You may find that an online program is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Enroll in the Best Peoria Vet Technologist Program
Picking the right veterinary technician school is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Potential students thinking about vet tech programs must make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as 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 evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the best school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet tech in Peoria Arizona.