How to Choose a Vet Assistant College near Lakewood California
Achieving your long term dream of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet college near Lakewood CA might at first seem like an overwhelming task. After all, you have to find and enroll in a school that will deliver the necessary training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you tackle assessing and comparing programs so that you can make the correct selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by searching for colleges that are close to their homes. When they have identified some nearby colleges, they ascertain which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and expense are significant factors when evaluating vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as accreditation and internship programs need to be looked into also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are reviewing before you make a final decision. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll talk about the various duties of veterinary techs and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Vet Technician and Assistant
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you desire 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 devote 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 a number of jobs that they can carry out within the Lakewood CA veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or perform surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let’s take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by graduating from a certificate program at a community college or vocational school near Lakewood CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Normally 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, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians go through more extensive training in contrast to assistants and usually obtain a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian equivalent of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently require veterinary techs pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary technicians and for the most part perform the same work functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes four years to complete. So the only real difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more job opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Lakewood CA area research facilities also.
Veterinary Online Colleges
An approach that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are provided via the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using various venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Lakewood CA veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, such as for travel and study materials, can be lower compared to more standard classroom courses. Just confirm that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary tech or assistant school may be the perfect option for you.
Things to Ask Vet Assistant and Tech Schools
At this point you probably have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of vet community colleges, technical and vocational schools in California as well as across the USA, you need to ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And of course you need to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the list of questions that you should ask the Lakewood CA vet technician and assistant colleges that you are considering.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It’s imperative that you make sure that the vet assistant or technician school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously 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 get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is frequently a precondition for employment for many Lakewood CA vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinarian college or vocational school and program you enroll in must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other suggestions include looking on internet school rating websites and checking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the California school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations involving your targeted schools. As a final tip, get in touch with some Lakewood CA vet clinics that you may wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest one or more schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech or assistant is to work in a medical environment. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with local veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. The majority of veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help build associations in the local Lakewood CA vet community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Placement Offered? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary tech or assistant school can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate might signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that some students were unhappy with the program and quit. Next, verify that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could mean that the Lakewood CA college has an outstanding reputation within the veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify 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, you most likely will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lakewood CA colleges you are looking at what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to attend a couple of classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for feedback from students concerning 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 College Located? Yes, we already covered location, but there are several more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary assistant classes from work or home, you must make certain that the commuting time is compatible with your schedule. For instance, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Lakewood CA campus is located in or close by a larger city. Also, if you do choose to enroll in 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 online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s imperative that you find out if the California veterinarian colleges you are exploring offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings. Some might only be able to go to class in the morning or in the afternoon. Verify that the class times you need are available near Lakewood CA prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of work, sickness or family issues. You may discover that an online program is the ideal way to fit your veterinary training into your active life.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Veterinary Assistant?When preparing to interview for a veterinary position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask veterinary prospects is "What drove you to select veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a vet assistant, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to veterinary care, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you would like to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer 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 strengths you have that make you an excellent vet tech and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Vet Technician Degree Program near Lakewood CA
Enrolling in the appropriate vet assistant or tech program is a crucial first step to starting a rewarding career delivering care and treatment for animals. Students considering vet tech or assistant programs must make their decision based on several key factors. Veterinary techs, assistants and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it’s very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final selection. And by selecting the ideal school, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet assistant, technician or technologist in Lakewood CA.
A Little Bit About Lakewood CA
Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 80,048 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Long Beach on the west and south, Bellflower on the north, Cerritos on the northeast, Cypress on the east, and Hawaiian Gardens on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.
Sometimes called "an instant city" because of its origins, going from lima bean fields in 1950 to a well-developed city by 1960, Lakewood is a classic example of a post–World War II American suburb.
Lakewood is a planned, post-World War II community. Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California." Begun in late 1949, the completion of the developers' plan in 1953 helped in the transformation of mass-produced housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.
More Cities of Interest in California