How to Enroll In a Veterinary Assistant School near Valdosta Georgia
Realizing your long term aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinarian college near Valdosta GA could at first seem like a challenging endeavor. After all, you have to find and enroll in a college that will provide the appropriate training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you tackle evaluating and contrasting colleges so that you can make the proper choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have identified some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although cost and location are significant factors when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your comparisons. 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 considering before you make a final decision. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll talk about the varied responsibilities of veterinary techs and assistants and the training alternatives available.
The Responsibilities of a Veterinary Assistant and Technician
One of the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you want to train as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your education, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many functions that they can perform within the Valdosta GA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the typical veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the job functions and education prerequisites for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have gone through a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college near Valdosta GA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complex tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo 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 sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are included in more complicated duties, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medication. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes four years. Therefore the main difference between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Valdosta GA area research facilities also.
Online Vet Courses
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available over the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at an area Valdosta GA veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, such as for traveling and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just be sure that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses 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 vet tech or assistant program may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Tech Training Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary certificate or degree that you wish to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in Georgia and across the Country, you must ask some important questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we discussed in our opening, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the Valdosta GA veterinary assistant and technician schools that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It’s important that you confirm that the vet assistant or tech school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, 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 confirms you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited college is often a prerequisite for employment for a number of Valdosta GA vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on online school ranking websites and contacting the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Georgia school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Valdosta GA vet clinics that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to obtain practical hands on training as a vet assistant or technician is to work in a medical setting. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with local veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help establish relationships in the local Valdosta GA veterinary community and help in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech college can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A low rate could mean that the teachers were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might mean that the Valdosta GA college has an excellent 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 regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Valdosta GA programs you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to attend a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from home or work, you have to make sure that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the Valdosta GA school is located close by or within a larger city. Also, if you do opt to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for community and state colleges. Of course taking classes online could be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s imperative that you ascertain if the Georgia veterinary colleges you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible 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 class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available near Valdosta GA prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss because of work, sickness or family issues. You might find that an online college is the ideal solution to fit your vet training into your hectic life.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Veterinary Technician?When prepping to interview for a veterinary position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask veterinary applicants is "What drove you to decide on veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a vet tech, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to veterinary care, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent vet tech and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Veterinary Technician Degree Program near Valdosta GA
Picking the ideal veterinary technician college is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Future students considering veterinary tech or assistant programs must make their selection based on a number of key factors. Veterinary assistants, techs 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 covered, it’s imperative that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the best school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist in Valdosta GA.
A Little Bit About Valdosta GA
Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481, and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.
Valdosta is the principal city of the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in 2010 had a population of 139,588. It includes part of Brooks County to the west.
Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.
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