How to Find the Right Veterinary Technician School near San Diego California
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet program near San Diego CA could at first feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you must search for and enroll in a college that will furnish the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you can make the right choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their homes. When they have identified some area schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although cost and location are important considerations when evaluating vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered as well. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary tech programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate decision. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll explore the varied responsibilities of veterinary assistants and techs and the training options available.
The Job of a Veterinary Tech and Assistant
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous tasks that they can carry out within the San Diego CA veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and training prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured 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 San Diego CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complicated activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared with assistants and generally acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states presently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and essentially carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career opportunities, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or San Diego CA area research facilities also.
Veterinary Online Degree Programs
An approach that might make sense for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at an area San Diego CA veterinarian 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, may be lower compared to more standard classroom programs. Just make certain that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is provided for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician or assistant program may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Vet Assistant and Technician Programs
By now you should have determined which veterinary certificate or degree that you want to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in California and across the USA, you must ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the San Diego CA veterinary technician and assistant programs that you are considering.
Is the Veterinary School Accredited? It’s important that you make sure that the veterinary assistant or technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a thorough review process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a precondition for employment for many San Diego CA vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program’s Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you enroll in should have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on online school rating websites and checking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the California school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some San Diego CA veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet tech or assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with local veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help establish connections in the local San Diego CA veterinarian community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Provided? Getting a job after graduating from a vet assistant or technician college can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate may signify that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might indicate that the San Diego CA school has an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might indicate that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the San Diego CA colleges you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to attend some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for evaluations 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 School Located? Of course, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet assistant classes from work or home, you have 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 drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the San Diego CA campus is located in or near a large city. Also, 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 charges especially for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online could be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it’s essential that you find out if the California veterinarian programs you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit 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. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available near San Diego CA prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies. You might discover that an online program is the best way to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Why Did You Want to Become a Vet Technician?When prepping to interview for a veterinary position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask veterinary applicants is "What made you select veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a vet assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to veterinary care, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you would like to address them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding vet tech and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Veterinary Assistant College near San Diego CA
Picking the ideal veterinary technician college is an important first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for animals. Potential students thinking about vet tech or assistant colleges need to make their determination based on a number of key factors. Vet assistants, techs and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it’s very important that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the ideal college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist in San Diego CA.
A Little Bit About San Diego CA
San Diego (/ˌsæn diˈeɪɡoʊ/, Spanish for "Saint Didacus"; Spanish: [san ˈdjeɣo]) is a major city in California, United States. It is in San Diego County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, approximately 120 miles (190 km) south of Los Angeles and immediately adjacent to the border with Mexico.
With an estimated population of 1,406,630 as of July 1, 2016, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California. It is part of the San Diego–Tijuana conurbation, the second-largest transborder agglomeration between the US and a bordering country after Detroit–Windsor, with a population of 4,922,723 people. The city is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the United States Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center.
San Diego has been called "the birthplace of California". Historically home to the Kumeyaay people, it was the first site visited by Europeans on what is now the West Coast of the United States. Upon landing in San Diego Bay in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area for Spain, forming the basis for the settlement of Alta California 200 years later. The Presidio and Mission San Diego de Alcalá, founded in 1769, formed the first European settlement in what is now California. In 1821, San Diego became part of the newly independent Mexico, which reformed as the First Mexican Republic two years later. California became part of the United States in 1848 following the Mexican–American War and was admitted to the union as a state in 1850.
More Cities of Interest in California