How to Choose a Veterinary Technician College near Kalamazoo Michigan
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and caring for animals by enrolling in a veterinarian program near Kalamazoo MI may at first seem like a daunting task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a program that will deliver the necessary training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you approach analyzing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the best selection? Many aspiring students launch their due diligence process by looking for campuses that are close to their homes. Once they have found some local schools, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are important considerations when comparing vet tech schools, they are not the only important ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are considering before you make a final decision. We have presented several in this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll talk about the varied responsibilities of veterinary assistants and techs and the training alternatives offered.
The Function of a Veterinary Assistant and Tech
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether 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 commit to your education, but the principal factor will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants have in common is that they each work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many jobs that they can perform within the Kalamazoo MI veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose ailments, or carry out surgical procedures. In those areas they can only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the standard veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the responsibilities and education prerequisites for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or trade school near Kalamazoo MI. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not associated with more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgeries. Some of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more advanced training compared with assistants and usually obtain 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 basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more complex activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet technicians and basically perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes four years. So the main distinction 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, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Kalamazoo MI area research facilities also.
Veterinary Online Training Programs
An option that may be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The course of study is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Kalamazoo MI 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 example for travel and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online courses and the practical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant fashion, an online vet tech or assistant program may be the perfect choice for you.
What to Ask Vet Assistant and Technologist Degree Programs
By now you should have selected which veterinary certificate or degree 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 trade schools in Michigan and across the United States, you must ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of alternatives. As we pointed out in our introduction, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other essential qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And naturally you want to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you need to ask the Kalamazoo MI veterinary assistant and tech programs that you are looking at.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It’s important that you confirm that the vet assistant or technician college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier discussed, among 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 get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is in many cases a precondition for employment for many Kalamazoo MI veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinarian college or trade school and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include checking with internet school ranking websites and contacting the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Michigan school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your targeted schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Kalamazoo MI vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They may even recommend one or more schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to get clinical hands on training as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a medical setting. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with area veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help build associations in the local Kalamazoo MI veterinarian community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech program may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the schools you are evaluating. A lower rate might indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could indicate that the Kalamazoo MI program has an outstanding reputation within the vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might indicate that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you may receive little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Kalamazoo MI schools you are considering what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to attend some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary assistant classes from home or work, you need to make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Kalamazoo MI school is located close by or within a larger city. In addition, if you do opt to enroll in a school 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 online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it’s essential that you ascertain if the Michigan veterinary programs you are considering 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 attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings. Others might only be able to attend class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available near Kalamazoo MI before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies. You may discover that an online program is the ideal way to fit your vet training into your active life.
Why Did You Want to Be a Vet Tech?When getting ready to interview for a veterinary position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask veterinary applicants is "What made you decide on veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a veterinary technician, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to veterinary care, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent vet tech and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Enroll in the Ideal Veterinary Technologist College near Kalamazoo MI
Selecting the right veterinary assistant or tech college is an important first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students considering vet assistant or tech colleges must make their determination based on several key issues. Vet assistants, techs and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have discussed, it’s essential that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This applies to vet tech online colleges 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 selection. And by choosing the best school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist in Kalamazoo MI.
A Little Bit About Kalamazoo MI
Kalamazoo /ˌkæləməˈzuː/ is a city in the southwest region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. As of the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a total population of 74,262. Kalamazoo is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 335,340 as of 2015. Kalamazoo is equidistant from the major American cities of Chicago and Detroit, each less than 150 miles away.
One of Kalamazoo's most notable features is the Kalamazoo Mall, an outdoor pedestrian shopping mall. The city created the mall in 1959 by closing part of Burdick Street to auto traffic, although two of the mall's four blocks have been reopened to auto traffic since 1999. Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, a large public university, Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a two-year community college.
Originally known as Bronson (after founder Titus Bronson) in the township of Arcadia, the names of both the city and the township were changed to "Kalamazoo" in 1836 and 1837, respectively. The Kalamazoo name comes from a Potawatomi word, first found in a British report in 1772. However, the Kalamazoo River, which passes through the modern city of Kalamazoo, was located on the route between Detroit and Fort Saint-Joseph (nowadays Niles, Michigan). French-Canadian traders, missionaries, and military personnel were quite familiar with this area during the French era and thereafter. The name for the Kalamazoo River was then known by Canadians and French as La rivière Kikanamaso. The name "Kikanamaso" was also recorded by Father Pierre Potier, a Jesuit missionary for the Huron-Wendats at the Assumption mission (south shore of Detroit), while en route to Fort Saint-Joseph during the fall of 1760. Legend has it that "Ki-ka-ma-sung," meaning "boiling water," referring to a footrace held each fall by local Native Americans, who had to run to the river and back before the pot boiled. Still another theory is that it means "the mirage or reflecting river." Another legend is that the image of "boiling water" referred to fog on the river as seen from the hills above the current downtown. The name was also given to the river that flows almost all the way across the state.
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