How to Pick a Vet Tech Program near Anchorage Alaska
Fulfilling your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinarian school near Anchorage AK may at first feel like an overwhelming endeavor. After all, you need to locate and enroll in a college that will furnish the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you go about analyzing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the proper choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their homes. When they have found some nearby schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary tech programs you are evaluating before you make a final selection. We have furnished several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll discuss the various responsibilities of vet techs and assistants and the training alternatives available.
The Role of a Veterinary Technician and Assistant
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you want to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the main factor will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Anchorage AK veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school near Anchorage AK. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complex activities, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and typically earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more involved activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and for the most part carry out the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Anchorage AK area research facilities also.
Veterinarian Online Training Programs
An alternative that may make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to vet school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The course of study is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Anchorage AK veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for example for travel and study materials, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make certain that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online vet tech or assistant program may be the perfect option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Technologist Colleges
By now you probably have selected which veterinarian certificate or degree that you wish to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in Alaska as well as across the Country, you should ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our opening, many future students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the Anchorage AK vet assistant and technician schools that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It’s essential that you verify that the vet assistant or tech program you enroll in 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 gone through a rigorous review process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is in many cases a precondition for employment for many Anchorage AK veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the College’s Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you select must have an exceptional reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include looking on internet school ranking websites and checking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions involving your specific schools. As a final recommendation, phone some Anchorage AK vet clinics that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to get practical hands on training as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a medical setting. Ask if the colleges you are considering have internship programs set up with local veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local Anchorage AK vet community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or 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 suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could indicate that the Anchorage AK college has an outstanding reputation within the vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify that the training is not well 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 most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Anchorage AK colleges you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are going to drive to your veterinary assistant classes from home or work, you must confirm that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Anchorage AK campus is located close by or within a large city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s important that you find out if the Alaska veterinarian programs you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night. Some may only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered near Anchorage AK prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family issues. You may find that an online school is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Vet Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a veterinary job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask veterinary prospects is "What compelled you to choose veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a vet tech, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to veterinary care, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent vet tech and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Veterinary Technician Training Program near Anchorage AK
Enrolling in the appropriate vet assistant or tech program is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students considering veterinary assistant or tech colleges need to make their selection based on a number of key factors. Vet assistants, techs and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animals when 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 field. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the ideal program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet assistant, tech or technologist in Anchorage AK.
A Little Bit About Anchorage AK
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage) (Dena'ina Athabascan: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population.
Anchorage is located in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and is home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
More Cities of Interest in Alaska