How to Choose a Veterinary Assistant Training near Los Altos California
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet program near Los Altos CA may at first seem like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a college that will deliver the proper training so that you can succeed as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you tackle evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the right choice? Many future students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their homes. When they have located some area colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are considering before you make a final selection. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll go over the varied responsibilities 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 have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the principal determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can perform within the Los Altos CA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let’s take a look at the duties and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college near Los Altos CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their regular responsibilities 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 with assistants and typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian equivalent 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 included in more complex functions, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which usually requires 4 years. So the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist’s higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Los Altos CA area research facilities also.
Vet Online Courses
An approach that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided via 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 vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Los Altos CA veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for instance for travel and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary tech or assistant program may be the right choice for you.
Things to Ask Vet Assistant and Tech Programs
At this point you should have decided on which veterinary certificate or degree that you want to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in California and across the USA, you must ask some relevant questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other significant qualifiers, for example accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to select a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other factors are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the Los Altos CA veterinary assistant and technician programs that you are considering.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It’s essential that you confirm that the vet assistant or tech college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously discussed, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding screening process that verifies you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Los Altos CA veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you choose must have an outstanding reputation within the vet community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with internet school rating websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the California school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations involving your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, phone some Los Altos CA vet clinics that you may want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to get clinical hands on experience as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs set up with area veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local Los Altos CA vet community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech college can be difficult without the help 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 teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the Los Altos CA college has an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Los Altos CA colleges you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet assistant classes from work or home, you need to make certain 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 Los Altos CA school is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do choose to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. Of course taking online classes might be an option that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s essential that you find out if the California veterinarian colleges you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are offered near Los Altos CA before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss because of sickness, work or family responsibilities. You may find that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Vet Assistant?When prepping to interview for a veterinary position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask veterinary candidates is "What drove you to select veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a vet tech, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to veterinary care, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional vet tech and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Veterinary Assistant Program near Los Altos CA
Picking the appropriate veterinary assistant or tech program is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Students considering vet assistant or tech colleges need to make their selection based on a number of key issues. Vet assistants, techs and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it’s imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the right program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist in Los Altos CA.
A Little Bit About Los Altos CA
Los Altos, California
Los Altos /lɔːs ˈæltoʊs/ ( listen) is a city in Santa Clara County, California, in northern Silicon Valley, in the San Francisco Bay Area. The population was 28,976 according to the 2010 census.
Most of the city's growth occurred between 1950 and 1980. Originally an agricultural town with many summer cottages and apricot orchards, Los Altos is now an affluent commuter town for Silicon Valley. Los Altos has several distinctive features. Commercial zones are strictly limited to the downtown area and small shopping and office parks lining Foothill Expressway and El Camino Real.
Homes and other real estate are costly in Los Altos. The median household income of Los Altos for 2006–2010 was $149,964. The average home listing price in 2014 was $1.96 million. In 2017, Forbes put Los Altos (94022 and 94024) as the 3rd and 48th most expensive ZIP codes in the United States with median home prices of $7,755,000 and $3,431,615, respectively.
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