How to Pick a Vet Assistant School near Occidental California
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a vet program near Occidental CA could initially seem like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a school that will deliver the proper training so that you can be successful as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you go about assessing and comparing colleges so that you can make the correct choice? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have identified some local schools, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important factors when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation should be evaluated as well. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary tech programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate choice. We have furnished several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll discuss the varied duties of veterinary techs and assistants and the training alternatives offered.
The Job of a Vet Assistant and Technician
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you want to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary factor will most likely be which specialty appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are a number of duties that they can carry out within the Occidental CA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose conditions, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the typical vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let’s take a look at the job functions and training prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have completed a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a trade school or community college near Occidental CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and generally earn a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated duties, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and basically carry out the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years to complete. Therefore 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 job opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Occidental CA area research facilities as well.
Vet Online Training Classes
An alternative that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while going to veterinarian school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided via the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can usually be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Occidental CA veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for instance for commuting and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just confirm that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech or assistant program may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Assistant and Tech Colleges
By now you probably have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to earn, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in California as well as across the Country, you must ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously pointed out other important qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the Occidental CA veterinary assistant and technician programs that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It’s important that you verify that the veterinary assistant or technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously mentioned, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding screening process that confirms you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a requirement for employment for a number of Occidental CA veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College’s Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you enroll in must have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other suggestions include checking with online school rating websites and checking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the California school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions concerning your targeted schools. As a final recommendation, call some Occidental CA vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to get practical hands on experience as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a professional setting. Ask if the schools you are considering have internship programs set up with local veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop connections in the local Occidental CA vet community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or technician college can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A lower rate might indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might indicate that the Occidental CA school has an exceptional reputation within the vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Occidental CA programs you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we already covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet technician classes from home or work, you need to make sure that the driving time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won’t be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the Occidental CA college is located near or in a larger city. Also, if you do opt to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes may be an option that will give you more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it’s essential that you find out if the California veterinary colleges you are considering 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 in the evenings. Others might only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are offered near Occidental CA prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family issues. You may find that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet training into your active life.
Why Did You Want to Be a Veterinary Technician?When prepping to interview for a veterinary job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask veterinary candidates is "What compelled you to choose veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a vet assistant, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to veterinary care, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent vet tech and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Veterinary Assistant Training Program near Occidental CA
Picking the ideal veterinary technician program is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Potential students thinking about vet tech or assistant colleges must make their selection based on several key factors. Veterinary assistants, techs and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, it’s essential that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the ideal college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet assistant, tech or technologist in Occidental CA.
A Little Bit About Occidental CA
Occidental College is a private liberal arts college located in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1887 by clergy and members of the Presbyterian Church, it is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges on the West Coast. Occidental College is often referred to as "Oxy" for short.
In 2017, the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings placed Occidental 27th on its list of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the United States.The New York Times ranked Occidental No. 28 on its 2017 list of the most economically diverse U.S. colleges and universities. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected Occidental as a "community engagement institution".
The college was named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll "with distinction". Occidental is also one of the most racially diverse liberal arts colleges, with approximately 42% of the student body identifying as students of color. The college is ranked No. 7 for liberal arts colleges and No. 17 for all undergraduate schools on Payscale.com's 2016-17 list of highest-paid graduates. Oxy was ranked the sixth "Most Beautiful" college campus by Newsweek in 2012.
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