Vet Tech Schools in Connecticut

How to Enroll In a Veterinary Assistant Program in Connecticut

Connecticut vet tech holding dog during examFulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinary program in Connecticut might at first feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you need to find and enroll in a program that will provide the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you tackle assessing and comparing programs so that you can make the ideal choice? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their homes. After they have found some local schools, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important factors when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into as well. The main idea is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are evaluating before you make a final choice. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll go over the various responsibilities of vet techs and assistants and the training options offered.

The Role of a Vet Tech and Assistant

Connecticut vet assistant taking vital signs of puppyOne of the first decisions that you will have to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the principal factor will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the direct supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are many duties that they can carry out within the Connecticut veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe drugs, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and education requirements for each position.

  • Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a trade school or community college in Connecticut. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more complicated tasks, for instance assisting with surgeries. Some of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
  • Vet Technicians go through more extensive training compared to assistants and generally earn a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are engaged in more complex functions, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medication. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 4 years. So the only real difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more career options, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.

Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. A number may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Connecticut research facilities also.

Online Vet Training Programs

attending vet tech school online in ConnecticutAn alternative that may make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided by means of the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using several methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Connecticut veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenditures, for example for commuting and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you enroll in is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet technician or assistant school may be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Tech Programs

cat wearing cone after vet surgery in ConnecticutAt this point you probably have determined which veterinary credential that you would like to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, vocational and technical schools in Connecticut and across the USA, you must ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we pointed out in our introduction, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other significant qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you need to select a school that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the veterinary assistant and technician colleges that you are looking at.

Is the Veterinary College Accredited?  It’s essential that you verify that the veterinary technician or assistant college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, 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 screening process that ensures you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since numerous programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is in many cases a precondition for employment for a number of Connecticut veterinary clinics and hospitals.

What is the Program’s Reputation?  The vet trade school or college and program you select must have an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include looking on internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Connecticut school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations regarding your specific schools. As a final pointer, call some veterinarians that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They might even recommend one or more programs not on your list.

Are Internships Offered?  The most effective means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the colleges you are considering have internship programs set up with regional veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop connections in the local Connecticut veterinarian community and help in the search for a position after graduation.

Is there a Job Assistance Program?  Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech college may be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A low rate might indicate that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might signify that the Connecticut program has an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might mean that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.

How Large are the Classes?  If the classes are bigger, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Request from the Connecticut colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to attend some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Get evaluations from students concerning 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?  Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet assistant classes from work or home, you must confirm that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won’t be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Connecticut campus is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And finally, it’s imperative that you determine if the Connecticut veterinarian colleges you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you require are available prior to enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.

Enroll in the Right Vet Tech School in Connecticut

Picking the ideal veterinary assistant or tech school is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career delivering treatment and care for animals. Students thinking about vet assistant or tech schools must make their determination based on several key factors. Veterinary techs, assistants and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative duties and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it’s very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing 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 accomplish your goal of becoming a vet assistant, tech or technologist.

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