Vet Tech Schools in Missouri

How to Select a Veterinary Assistant Training in Missouri

Missouri vet tech holding dog during examFulfilling your lifelong goal of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinarian program in Missouri could at first seem like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a program that will provide the necessary training so that you can be successful as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you approach assessing and comparing schools so that you can make the proper selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are near their residences. After they have found some local schools, they determine which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated also. The main idea 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 in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll explore the varied responsibilities of veterinary techs and assistants and the training alternatives offered.

The Job of a Veterinary Technician and Assistant

Missouri vet assistant taking vital signs of puppyOne of the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main factor will probably be which specialization interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants have in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous functions that they can perform within the Missouri veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work away from the standard veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and education requirements for each specialization.

  • Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or trade school in Missouri. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complex activities, such as assisting with surgeries. Some of their normal functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
  • Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and normally acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complex functions, for example assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
  • Vet Technologists are comparable to vet techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes 4 years to complete. Therefore the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist is the technologist’s higher 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 exam for either certification, registration or licensing.

Veterinary technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Some may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Missouri research facilities as well.

Online Veterinarian Degree Programs

attending vet tech school online in MissouriAn alternative that might be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available over the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using multiple venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that portion can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Missouri veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, for instance for commuting and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant mode, an online veterinary technician or assistant program may be the perfect choice for you.

Things to Ask Vet Assistant and Technician Programs

cat wearing cone after vet surgery in MissouriAt this point you should have decided on which veterinary certificate or degree that you wish to earn, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in Missouri as well as across the Country, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many potential students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other important qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you want to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary assistant and technician programs that you are reveiwing.

Is the Vet College Accredited?  It’s imperative that you confirm that the vet tech or assistant college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, among the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that confirms you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited school is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Missouri vet clinics and hospitals.

What is the School’s Reputation?  The veterinary college or trade school and program you choose must have an excellent reputation within the vet field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Missouri school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, contact some veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest some programs not on your list.

Are there Internship Programs?  The best way to get clinical hands on training as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a professional environment. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs set up with area veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most 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 clinical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local Missouri vet community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.

Is Job Placement Provided?  Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech school may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate may mean that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate might signify that the Missouri school has an outstanding reputation within the vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate may mean that the training is not highly thought of by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.

How Big are the Classes?  If the classes are larger sized, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Missouri programs you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and teachers. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.

Where is the Campus Located?  Yes, we already discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your vet technician classes from home or work, you need to make certain that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to check out the route won’t be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Missouri college is located in or close by a large city. In addition, if you do decide to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. Of course attending classes online may be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.

Is the Class Schedule Flexible?  And last, it’s essential that you find out if the Missouri veterinary colleges you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night. Some may only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you need are offered before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make up classes that you might miss because of sickness, work or family emergencies. You might discover that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet education into your active life.

Select the Right Vet Tech College in Missouri

Picking the right veterinary assistant or tech school is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for animals. Students considering vet assistant or tech colleges must make their determination based on a number of key issues. Vet techs, assistants and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it’s essential 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 colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final decision. And by picking the best school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet assistant, technician or technologist.

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