How to Choose a Veterinary Technician School near Atascadero California
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet school near Atascadero CA could at first feel like a challenging endeavor. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a college that will furnish the necessary training so that you can be successful as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you go about reviewing and comparing colleges so that you can make the ideal selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their residences. After they have identified some local schools, they ascertain which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are significant considerations when evaluating vet tech schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered also. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary tech programs 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 talk about the different responsibilities of veterinary assistants and techs and the training options offered.
The Function of a Veterinary Assistant and Tech
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary determiner will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are a number of jobs that they can carry out within the Atascadero CA veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the typical vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most instances 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 community college or trade school near Atascadero CA. 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 involved with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training in contrast to assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated functions, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years. So 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 career options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. A number may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Atascadero CA area research facilities also.
Veterinary Online Schools
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study 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 portion can usually be completed as an internship or work study program at an area Atascadero CA veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, such as for traveling and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you choose 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 complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet technician or assistant school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Technician Schools
At this point you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you want to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in California as well as across the Country, you must ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many prospective students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the Atascadero CA vet assistant and tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It’s essential that you confirm that the veterinary assistant or tech college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that verifies you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is in many cases a requirement for employment for many Atascadero CA veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program’s Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on internet school ranking websites and contacting the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the California school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions concerning your specific schools. As a final suggestion, contact some Atascadero CA vet clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet assistant or technician is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with local veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local Atascadero CA veterinarian community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate could mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the Atascadero CA college has an exceptional 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 thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Atascadero CA colleges you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Get evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet technician classes from home or work, you have to make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the Atascadero CA college is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do choose to attend 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 online classes might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it’s essential that you determine if the California veterinary colleges you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings. Others may only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available near Atascadero CA before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to work, sickness or family issues. You might find that an online school is the ideal solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Vet Assistant?When preparing to interview for a veterinary job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask veterinary candidates is "What drove you to select veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a vet tech, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to veterinary care, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must organize some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional vet tech and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Right Vet Tech Degree Program near Atascadero CA
Enrolling in the ideal veterinary assistant or tech program is an important first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for animals. Future students considering veterinary assistant or tech programs must make their determination based on several key issues. Veterinary assistants, techs and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it’s essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet technician, assistant or technologist in Atascadero CA.
A Little Bit About Atascadero CA
Atascadero is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California, about equidistant from Los Angeles and San Francisco on U.S. Route 101. Atascadero is part of the San Luis Obispo - Atascadero - Paso Robles metropolitan area. Atascadero is farther inland than most other cities in the county, and as a result, usually experiences warmer, drier summers, and cooler winters than other nearby cities such as San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. The main freeway through town is the US 101. The nearby State Routes 41 and 46 provide access to the Pacific Coast and the California Central Valley.
Founded by E.G. Lewis in 1913, the city grew to 29,096 people as of 2013.
Atascadero is a Spanish word loosely translated as bog, from the verb "atascar" which means to become stuck or hindered. Also, in the Chumash language, Atascadero translates into a place of much water.
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