How to Enroll In the Best Vet Technician College Near Phoenix Arizona
Realizing your long term goal of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet tech program near Phoenix AZ might at first seem like an overwhelming task. After all, you must find and enroll in a college that will furnish the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician. But just how do you go about analyzing and contrasting schools so that you can make the right choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their homes. When they have found some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant considerations when assessing veterinary technician programs, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the vet technician schools you are considering before you make an ultimate choice. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we'll explore the varied 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 whether you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty appeals to you the most. What technicians and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are a number of jobs that they can perform within the Phoenix AZ veterinary clinic or hospital, they can't prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let's take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing 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 performance of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their typical duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared with assistants and typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor's Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist's higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Phoenix AZ labs or research facilities also.
Veterinary Technician Online Schools Offered
An approach that might make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are made available over the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Phoenix AZ veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, such as for commuting and study materials, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online veterinary technician program may be the perfect choice for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Technician Colleges
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary degree that you would like to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in the Phoenix AZ area and across the United States, you need to ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other essential qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary technician programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It's important that you verify that the vet tech program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, 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 an extensive review process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of Phoenix AZ area veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the School's Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school's accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Arizona school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions concerning your targeted schools. As a final pointer, call some Phoenix AZ vet clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the programs you are looking at have internship programs set up with Phoenix AZ veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable regarding the clinical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local veterinarian community and assist in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician school can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A lower rate may indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the program has an excellent reputation within the Phoenix AZ vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not highly 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 sized, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Phoenix AZ schools you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the subject. If you are planning to drive to your vet tech classes from your Phoenix AZ home, you need to make sure that the commuting 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, especially if the campus is located near or in a larger city. Also, if you do choose to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it's imperative that you find out if the veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit 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 Phoenix AZ. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. Also, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of work, sickness or family emergencies. You may find that an online school is the best way to fit your vet education into your active life.
Choose the Right Phoenix Vet Technologist Program
Selecting the appropriate veterinary technician program is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students considering veterinary technician programs must make their decision based on a number of key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it's imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the best program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician in Phoenix Arizona.