How to Pick a Veterinary Technician Training near Pittsburg California
Achieving your long term dream of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet college near Pittsburg CA may at first feel like a daunting endeavor. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a college that will furnish the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting schools so that you can make the proper choice? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their residences. After they have identified some local schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important concerns when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are reviewing before you make a final choice. We have furnished several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll explore the different responsibilities of veterinary assistants and techs and the training options offered.
The Function of a Veterinary Tech and Assistant
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main factor will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are numerous tasks that they can carry out within the Pittsburg CA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the conventional veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let’s take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or trade school near Pittsburg CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complex tasks, for example assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training in contrast to assistants and generally acquire 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 fundamental job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved duties, such as assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires four years to complete. Therefore the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Pittsburg CA area research facilities also.
Veterinary Online Schools
An approach that may be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to vet school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are offered over 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 many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Pittsburg CA veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for example for traveling and study supplies, can be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary tech or assistant school may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Assistant and Technologist Colleges
By now you should have determined which veterinarian certificate or degree that you want to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in California and across the United States, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other significant qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to enroll in a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the Pittsburg CA veterinary technician and assistant colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It’s important that you make sure that the veterinary technician or assistant school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier stated, among 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 screening process that verifies you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is in many cases a requirement for employment for a number of Pittsburg CA vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school ranking websites and checking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the California school licensing department if there have been any grievances or infractions involving your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Pittsburg CA veterinary clinics that you might want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They may even recommend some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best approach to get clinical hands on training as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the colleges you are considering have internship programs set up with area veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and many provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship may also help establish associations in the local Pittsburg CA veterinarian community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech or assistant college may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate may mean that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might mean that the Pittsburg CA college has an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community and has a substantial 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 placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you may receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Pittsburg CA colleges you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to participate in a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback 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 College Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary tech classes from work or home, you need to make certain that the driving time is compatible with 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 Pittsburg CA school is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do choose 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. On the other hand, attending classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it’s essential that you find out if the California veterinary schools you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered near Pittsburg CA prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online program is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Veterinary Technician?When preparing to interview for a veterinary position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask veterinary applicants is "What compelled you to select veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a veterinary technician, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to veterinary care, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional vet tech and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Right Veterinary Technologist Program near Pittsburg CA
Selecting the appropriate veterinary assistant or tech program is an important first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet assistant or tech colleges must make their selection based on several key issues. Vet techs, assistants and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it’s imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by picking the ideal program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet assistant, tech or technologist in Pittsburg CA.
A Little Bit About Pittsburg CA
Pittsburg is an industrial city in Contra Costa County, California. The population was 63,264 at the 2010 census. It is located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 1849, Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson (from New York) bought the Rancho Los Medanos land grant, and laid out a town he called New York of the Pacific. By 1850, this venture failed. With the discovery of coal in the nearby town of Nortonville, California, the place became a port for coaling, and adopted the name Black Diamond, after the mining firm that built the Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad from there to Nortonville. Because of the industrial potential of the site, a name change to Pittsburg was proposed in 1909.
Pittsburg, originally settled in 1839, was called first "New York Landing", then "Black Diamond", before citizens voted on "Pittsburg" on February 11, 1911. The name was selected to honor Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the two cities' shared a common steel and mining industrial heritage. However, from 1891 to July 1911, Pittsburgh, PA was officially known as "Pittsburg", following a country-wide standardization of geographical names by the United States Board on Geographic Names. Hence, in February 1911, when Pittsburg, CA adopted its name, the 'h' was absent from its namesake city. Five months later (July 1911), after an appeals process lasting almost two decades, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania won a rare reversal and the 'h' was restored to the city's official name, which persists to this day, resulting in the spelling difference.
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