How to Select a Vet Tech College near Pleasanton California
Realizing your long term aspiration of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a vet college near Pleasanton CA may initially seem like a daunting endeavor. After all, you need to locate 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 contrasting schools so that you can make the proper choice? Many future students launch their due diligence process by searching for schools that are near their homes. When they have identified some nearby schools, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are significant concerns when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only significant ones when making your comparisons. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation should be considered also. The point is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are considering before you make a final selection. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll explore the different roles of veterinary techs and assistants and the training options offered.
The Responsibilities of a Vet Assistant and Tech
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the primary determiner will most likely be which specialty interests you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are many jobs that they can perform within the Pleasanton CA veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work exclusive of the conventional veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or police departments. Let’s take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college near Pleasanton CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgeries. Some of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more advanced training in contrast to assistants and usually acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated activities, for instance assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are mandated to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally takes four years. Therefore 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 career options, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may receive certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Pleasanton CA area research facilities also.
Online Vet Programs
An option that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are made available over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The curriculum is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that part can normally be completed as an internship or work study program at a local Pleasanton CA veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for example for traveling and study supplies, can be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you enroll in 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 complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online veterinary technician or assistant school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Technologist Schools
By now you should have determined which veterinarian credential that you wish to attain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinary community colleges, technical and vocational schools in California and across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many prospective students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already mentioned other essential qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And of course you want to select a program that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the list of questions that you should ask the Pleasanton CA veterinary assistant and tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It’s important that you make sure that the veterinary assistant or technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. 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 an extensive review process that confirms you will obtain a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited schools. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is frequently a requirement for employment for many Pleasanton CA veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program’s Reputation? The veterinarian trade school or college and program you enroll in must have an outstanding reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with online 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 relating to your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Pleasanton CA vet clinics that you might wish to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They might even recommend one or more programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech or assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with regional veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the practical training, but an internship can also help build connections in the local Pleasanton CA veterinary community and help in the search for a position after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech school can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A low rate might suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, confirm that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might indicate that the Pleasanton CA school has an exceptional reputation within the veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate might signify that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job assistance program is ineffective at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you may get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Request from the Pleasanton CA programs you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students regarding the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their backgrounds are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the School Located? Yes, we already discussed location, but there are a few more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from home or work, you need to make certain that the driving time is compatible with your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the drive during rush hour traffic, especially if the Pleasanton CA campus is located close by or within a large 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 higher tuition costs especially for community and state colleges. Of course taking online classes might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it’s important that you determine if the California veterinarian programs 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. Some might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available near Pleasanton CA before enrolling. Also, find out if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of work, sickness or family emergencies. You might find that an online college is the ideal solution to fit your veterinary training into your hectic life.
Why Did You Want to Be a Vet Assistant?When preparing to interview for a veterinary job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask veterinary candidates is "What drove you to choose veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a vet tech, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to veterinary care, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding vet tech and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Right Vet Assistant College near Pleasanton CA
Selecting the right vet technician college is a crucial first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering care and treatment for animals. Future students considering vet tech or assistant schools must make their decision based on several key issues. Veterinary assistants, techs and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative tasks and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it’s imperative 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 schools 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 choice. And by picking the best program, you can achieve your goal of becoming a vet assistant, technician or technologist in Pleasanton CA.
A Little Bit About Pleasanton CA
Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, California, incorporated in 1894. It is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oakland, and 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Livermore. The population was 70,285 at the 2010 census. In 2005 and 2007, Pleasanton was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in the United States by the Census Bureau. Pleasanton is home to the headquarters of Workday, Ellie Mae, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, Blackhawk Network Holdings, and Veeva Systems. Other major employers include Kaiser Permanente, Safeway, Oracle, Nordstrom and Macy's. Although Oakland is the Alameda County seat, a few county offices and a courthouse are located in Pleasanton. The Alameda County Fairgrounds are located in Pleasanton, where the county fair is held during the last week of June and the first week of July. Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is located on the west side of town.
Pleasanton was ranked number 4 by USA Today in its 2014 "America's 50 best cities to live in" listing, number 63 in Money's list of "The Best Places to Live" in 2010, and was named one of "Americans' Top Hometown Spots" in the United States in 2009 by Forbes.
Pleasanton was named the third wealthiest city in terms of earnings in the United States by NerdWallet in 2013.
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