How to Select a Vet Tech School near Lafayette California
Achieving your lifelong dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet school near Lafayette CA could initially seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will furnish the necessary training so that you can be successful as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you approach analyzing and contrasting schools so that you can make the best selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their residences. Once they have located some local schools, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are significant factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary tech programs you are considering before you make a final selection. We have provided several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll explore the varied roles of vet techs and assistants and the training alternatives offered.
The Role of a Vet Assistant and Tech
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you desire to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Lafayette CA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work exclusive of the typical veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let’s take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have completed a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or vocational school near Lafayette CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. A few of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared to assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job function 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, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states presently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part carry out the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which typically requires 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Lafayette CA area research facilities as well.
Online Veterinary Training Classes
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinarian school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Lafayette CA veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary costs, such as for commuting and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure 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 included for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online veterinary tech or assistant school may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Assistant and Tech Colleges
By now you probably have decided on which veterinarian certificate or degree that you want to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, vocational and technical schools in California and across the USA, you must ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the Lafayette CA veterinary technician and assistant colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It’s imperative that you verify that the veterinary tech or assistant school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, 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 confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a precondition for employment for a number of Lafayette CA veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College’s Reputation? The veterinary vocational school or college and program you select must have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on online school rating websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the California school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions regarding your targeted schools. As a final tip, phone some Lafayette CA vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They may even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet tech or assistant is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the schools you are considering have internship programs set up with local veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local Lafayette CA vet community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate could suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the Lafayette CA program has an excellent reputation within the vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Lafayette CA colleges you are considering 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 feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we already discussed location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet technician classes from work or home, you must make certain that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Lafayette CA school is located close by or within a large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition fees especially for community and state colleges. Of course attending online classes may be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it’s essential that you find out if the California veterinarian colleges you are looking at offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, a number of students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night. Some may only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you need are offered near Lafayette CA prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You may find that an online program is the ideal way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Vet Technician?When prepping to interview for a veterinary job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask veterinary candidates is "What made you decide on veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a vet assistant, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to veterinary care, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent vet tech and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Vet Technician Training Program near Lafayette CA
Selecting the right vet assistant or tech college is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students looking into veterinary tech or assistant 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 handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it’s essential that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the right college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary assistant, tech or technologist in Lafayette CA.
A Little Bit About Lafayette CA
Lafayette (formerly, La Fayette) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. As of 2011, the city's population was estimated to be 24,285. It was named after the Marquis de La Fayette, a French military hero of the American Revolutionary War. Today Lafayette is known for its pastoral rolling hills, good schools, and wealthy inhabitants. In 2009, estimated median household income in Lafayette was over $120,000, more than double the statewide average and nearly triple the national average.
Before the colonization of the region by Spain, Lafayette and its vicinity were inhabited by the Saclan tribe of the indigenous Bay Miwok. Ohlone also populated some of the areas along Lafayette Creek. The indigenous inhabitants' first contact with Europeans was in the late 18th century with the founding of Catholic missions in the region. These initial contacts developed into conflict, with years of armed struggle, including a battle on what is currently Lafayette soil in 1797 between the Saclan and the Spanish, and eventually resulting in the subjugation of the native population.
Most of what is currently Lafayette was given as a Mexican land grant, Rancho Acalanes to Candelario Valencia in 1834. The name Acalanes seems to have come from the name of a native village in the area, Ahala-n.
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