How to Choose a Veterinary Assistant College near Fremont California
Realizing your lifelong dream of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet college near Fremont CA might initially seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you must find and enroll in a college that will provide the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing schools so that you can make the proper choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their homes. Once they have identified some nearby schools, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are looking at before you make a final choice. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll explore the different responsibilities of veterinary assistants and techs and the training alternatives available.
The Job of a Vet Assistant and Technician
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the principal determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Fremont 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 exclusive of the conventional vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school near Fremont CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more extensive training compared to assistants and generally acquire a 2 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 general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and essentially perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes four years. So the main distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet 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 Fremont CA area research facilities as well.
Online Veterinarian Programs
An alternative that might make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at an area Fremont CA veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, such as for commuting and study supplies, may be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just make certain that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online vet technician or assistant school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Vet Assistant and Tech Degree Programs
At this point you should have decided on which veterinarian certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in California as well as across the United States, you should ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a program that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the Fremont CA veterinary assistant and technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It’s imperative that you confirm that the veterinary assistant or technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier discussed, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive review process that confirms you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for many Fremont CA veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College’s Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you choose should 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 tips include checking with internet school ranking websites and checking with 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 tip, call some Fremont CA vet clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best way to obtain practical hands on training as a vet assistant or tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with local veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local Fremont CA vet community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech or assistant program can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate might signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the course of study or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may mean that the Fremont CA school has an excellent reputation within the veterinary community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might mean that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you most likely will receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Fremont CA programs you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we previously discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to commute to your vet tech classes from home or work, you need to confirm that the driving time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won’t be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Fremont CA school is located near or in a large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it’s imperative that you ascertain if the California veterinary colleges you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working 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 in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are offered near Fremont CA prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities. You may find that an online college is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Why Did You Want to Become a Veterinary Technician?When preparing to interview for a veterinary job, it's important to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask veterinary candidates is "What made you select veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a vet assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to veterinary care, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent vet tech and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Enroll in the Best Vet Assistant College near Fremont CA
Selecting the appropriate vet assistant or tech school is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Future students looking into vet assistant or tech schools must make their decision based on several key issues. Vet techs, assistants and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it’s very important that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the best school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist in Fremont CA.
A Little Bit About Fremont CA
San Francisco–Oakland–Hayward, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area
San Francisco Metropolitan Area officially known as the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) within the San Francisco Bay Area, which includes a number of its core cities and counties. It is the eleventh-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is defined by the Office of Management and Budget to include core areas more directly economically influenced by San Francisco rather than other nearby cities such as San Jose which has its own MSA, the San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, CA MSA. Until 2013, this MSA was known as the San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont, CA MSA.
The Federal Government definition states that it consists of 5 counties, grouped into three divisions. Those 5 counties are San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, and San Mateo County. The three divisions are Oakland–Hayward–Berkeley (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties), San Francisco–Redwood City–South San Francisco (San Francisco and San Mateo Counties), and San Rafael (Marin County).
The MSA is a subset of the 9 county San Francisco Bay Area, as well as the 12 county Combined Statistical Area, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA CSA. Three North Bay counties are not in the MSA; instead Sonoma County comprises the Santa Rosa, CA MSA, Napa County comprises the Napa, CA MSA, and Solano County is the Vallejo–Fairfield, CA MSA.
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