How to Select the Right Vet Technician Program near Anchorage Alaska
Fulfilling your lifelong dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a vet tech program near Anchorage AK may at first feel like a daunting endeavor. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a program that will deliver the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician. But just how do you approach reviewing and comparing schools so that you can make the right selection? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their residences. After they have located some area schools, they find out which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important factors when assessing veterinary technician schools, they are by no means the only critical ones when making your comparisons. Qualifiers such as internship programs and accreditation need to be looked into as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary technician programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll go over the different duties of veterinary technicians and the training options offered.
The Job of a Veterinary Technician
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you want to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your decision may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your training, but the primary factor will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What techs and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct guidance of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And while there are a number of tasks that they can perform within the Anchorage AK veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the conventional veterinarian practice, for instance for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let’s take a look at the responsibilities and training prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in most instances will have gone through a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their normal responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training compared with assistants and normally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary equivalent of medical nurses, since their basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complex functions, for example assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states currently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially carry out the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which generally requires 4 years. So the main distinction between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist’s higher level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in Anchorage AK labs or research facilities also.
Online Vet Tech Programs Offered
An option that may make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are provided via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can typically be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Anchorage AK veterinarian practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, for example 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 provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online veterinary technician school may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Technician Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinarian degree that you want to obtain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in the Anchorage AK area as well as across the USA, you need to ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our introduction, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have previously mentioned other essential qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you need to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the veterinary technician schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It’s essential that you verify that the veterinary technician program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. 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 undergone a thorough screening process that verifies you will obtain a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited programs. Last, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is often a requirement for employment for many Anchorage AK area vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the College’s Reputation? The veterinarian vocational school or college and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinarian field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online school ranking websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Alaska school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or violations regarding your specific schools. As a final suggestion, get in touch with some Anchorage AK veterinarians that you might want to work for after you receive your training. Find out what they think about your school selections. They may even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective approach to obtain practical hands on training as a vet tech is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs set up with Anchorage AK veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build relationships in the local vet community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Finding a job after graduating from a vet tech college can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are reviewing. A lower rate might indicate that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and quit. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could signify that the college has an exceptional reputation within the Anchorage AK vet community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Anchorage AK programs you are looking at what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their backgrounds are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to drive to your veterinary technician classes from your Anchorage AK home, you need to confirm that the driving time is compatible with 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 college is located near or in 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 fees especially for community and state colleges. Of course taking online classes could be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it’s essential that you determine if the veterinarian colleges you are considering offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings near Anchorage AK. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family issues. You might discover that an online school is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Becoming A Vet Tech Anchorage Alaska
Choosing the right vet tech school is a crucial first step to beginning a rewarding career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students looking into vet tech programs must make their selection based on multiple key issues. Veterinary technicians and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have covered, it’s imperative that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the profession. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Becoming A Vet Tech and wanting more information on the topic Schools With Vet Tech Programs. However, by asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your options so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the ideal college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet tech in Anchorage AK.
More Pet Friendly Locations in Alaska
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska, located in the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by land in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
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