How to Enroll In a Vet Tech College near Oak Forest Illinois
Realizing your long term aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinarian program near Oak Forest IL might initially seem like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you have to find and enroll in a college that will provide the appropriate training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you approach analyzing and comparing programs so that you can make the right choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are near their homes. When they have identified some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant concerns when comparing vet tech schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered 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 decision. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll explore the various roles of veterinary assistants and techs and the training options available.
The Job of a Veterinary Tech and Assistant
Among the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a vet assistant, technician 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 primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialty interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are many tasks that they can carry out within the Oak Forest IL veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed vet. There are technologists and technicians that work away from the conventional veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let’s take a look at the duties and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by completing a certificate program at a community college or trade school near Oak Forest IL. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complicated tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. Some of their typical functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared to assistants and generally earn a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are included in more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years to complete. Therefore 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 work options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet 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 Oak Forest IL area research facilities as well.
Vet Online Colleges
An approach that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are offered over the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using several venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can normally be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Oak Forest IL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for instance for traveling and study supplies, can be lower compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just make certain 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 included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent manner, an online veterinary tech or assistant program may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Assistant and Technologist Colleges
At this point you probably have selected which veterinary credential that you would like to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in Illinois and across the Country, you should ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other important qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to enroll in a program that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the Oak Forest IL vet technician and assistant programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It’s imperative that you verify that the veterinary assistant or technician school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a thorough screening process that ensures you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited college is often a precondition for employment for a number of Oak Forest IL vet practices and hospitals.
What is the Program’s Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Illinois school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations concerning your specific schools. As a final pointer, call some Oak Forest IL veterinarians that you might want to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to obtain practical hands on experience as a vet assistant or technician is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the schools you are considering have internship programs set up with local veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local Oak Forest IL veterinary community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Finding a job after graduating from a vet assistant or technician program may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are reviewing. A low rate may suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might indicate that the Oak Forest IL program has an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you most likely will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Oak Forest IL schools you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for evaluations from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from work or home, you have to 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 Oak Forest IL campus is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s imperative that you ascertain if the Illinois vet colleges you are considering offer class times flexible enough to accommodate 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 attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are available near Oak Forest IL before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss due to work, sickness or family issues. You may discover that an online college is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Why Did You Want to Be a Vet Tech?When preparing to interview for a veterinary position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask veterinary applicants is "What compelled you to choose veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a veterinary technician, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to veterinary care, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding vet tech and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Vet Technician School near Oak Forest IL
Choosing the appropriate veterinary assistant or tech program is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into vet assistant or tech programs must make their decision based on several key factors. Vet assistants, techs and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have covered, it’s imperative that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for vet tech online programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can make your final selection. And by choosing the right college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist in Oak Forest IL.
A Little Bit About Oak Forest IL
Oak Forest, Illinois
The origins of present-day Oak Forest begins with a railroad whistle stop on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad near the present day intersection of 159th Street (US Route 6) and Cicero Avenue (Illinois Route 50) which primarily served area dairy farmers. This stop was located in a largely forested area of what was previously known as the Cooper's Grove Stand of Timber. By the 1880s this particular area of timber was being referred to as the "Oak Forest" due to its abundance of oak trees. A section of the former "Cooper's Grove Road" paralleling the railroad track from 66th Court to 167th Street in Tinley Park became known as "Oak Forest Avenue," because it was the road from the Village of Bremen/New Bremen (now Tinley Park) that lead to this "Oak Forest."
In 1907, Cook County approved construction of a second county poor farm and infirmary on a site generally at the southeast corner of 159th Street and Cicero Avenue to address overcrowding conditions at the County Poor Farm in Dunning on the northwest side of Chicago. This location was very near the Oak Forest railroad stop which provided convenient rail access to the facility. A railroad spur off of the Rock Island railroad line was also constructed onto the Oak Forest Hospital site that was used for both delivery of materials during its construction and delivery of coal for its heating plant and other goods used at the facility for many years. The Oak Forest Infirmary opened in 1910. Shortly after its opening, the facility accommodated close to 2,000 people suffering from poverty, mental illness, alcoholism, and other problems. The residents of the Infirmary helped maintain farmlands at and around the facility. By 1932, the Infirmary was serving more than 4,000 patients, including over 500 with tuberculosis.
Over the ensuing years following the opening of the Oak Forest Infirmary, a small settlement developed near both the railroad stop and the Oak Forest Infirmary populated by both workers at the facility and relatives of individuals in the Oak Forest facility. By the 1920s there were several residential subdivisions developing near the facility. The 1940 census reflected 611 residents outside the hospital. The hospital provided other business opportunities. For example, several mortuaries/funeral homes were to be found just outside the facility.
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