How to Select a Vet Tech Program near Ridgecrest California
Realizing your lifelong aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary program near Ridgecrest CA could at first feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will provide the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you tackle reviewing and contrasting programs so that you can make the proper choice? Many potential students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are close to their residences. After they have located some local schools, they determine which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and cost are significant factors when evaluating vet tech schools, they are not the only critical ones when making your evaluations. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be evaluated also. The point is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary tech programs you are reviewing before you make an ultimate selection. We have furnished several within this article to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll explore the various roles of vet techs and assistants and the training alternatives offered.
The Job of a Vet Assistant and Technician
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is if you plan to train as a vet assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your preference may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to devote to your education, but the primary determiner will probably be which specialization appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the direct supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of jobs that they can perform within the Ridgecrest CA veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, diagnose conditions, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical veterinarian practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and training requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in most cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by completing a certificate program at a trade school or community college near Ridgecrest CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the vets and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complex undertakings, 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 pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared to assistants and generally obtain a 2 year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are included in more complicated functions, for example assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are mandated to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which usually takes 4 years. So the only real distinction between a vet technician and a technologist 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 mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Some may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Ridgecrest CA area research facilities also.
Veterinarian Online Courses
An alternative that may make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full-time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online training program. Because the classes are provided via the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using various methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that segment can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at an area Ridgecrest CA veterinary clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, such as for commuting and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more conventional classroom courses. Just make certain that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is included for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet tech or assistant school may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Tech Colleges
By now you should have selected which veterinary certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, trade and vocational schools in California and across the Country, you must ask some important questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by concentrating on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already pointed out other important qualifiers, which include internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to enroll in a college that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the Ridgecrest CA vet technician and assistant schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It’s important that you make sure that the vet assistant or tech program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of 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 demanding review process that confirms you will receive a superior education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, since many programs are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for many Ridgecrest CA veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinary college or trade school and program you enroll in must have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with internet school ranking websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the California school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or infractions regarding your specific schools. As a final pointer, contact some Ridgecrest CA vet clinics that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The most effective way to get clinical hands on experience as a vet assistant or tech is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have internship programs arranged with area veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require practical training and many furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the practical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local Ridgecrest CA veterinary community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech college can be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the programs you are considering. A lower rate may indicate that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may mean that the Ridgecrest CA school has an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might indicate that the training is not well 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 in size, you probably will get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Ridgecrest CA colleges you are looking at what their class student to teacher ratios are. You might also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between students and instructors. Ask for evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the College Located? Okay, we already covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the subject. If you are planning to commute to your veterinary tech classes from home or work, you have to make certain 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 drive during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Ridgecrest CA college is located near or in a large 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 costs especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s imperative that you determine if the California vet schools you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue working full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or in the evenings. Others may only be able to go to classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are offered near Ridgecrest CA before enrolling. Also, determine if you can make up classes that you may miss due to sickness, work or family issues. You may discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Vet Tech?When preparing to interview for a veterinary job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask veterinary prospects is "What drove you to pick veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a vet assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to veterinary care, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding vet tech and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Veterinary Tech Training Program near Ridgecrest CA
Enrolling in the appropriate veterinary assistant or tech program is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career providing care and treatment for pets and livestock. Potential students thinking about vet tech or assistant schools need to make their selection based on a number of key issues. Vet techs, assistants and technologists are employed in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative tasks and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients as needed. As we have discussed, it’s very important that you pick a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech programs as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the right school, you can reach your goal of becoming a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist in Ridgecrest CA.
A Little Bit About Ridgecrest CA
Ridgecrest is a city in Kern County, California, United States. It is located along U.S. Route 395 in the Indian Wells Valley in northeastern Kern County, adjacent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake (NAWS, or China Lake). The population was 27,616 at the 2010 census, up from 24,927 at the 2000 census. It was incorporated as a city in 1963.
Ridgecrest is surrounded by four mountain ranges; the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Cosos on the north, the Argus Range on the east, and the El Paso Mountains on the south. It is approximately 82 miles (132 km) from the Lancaster/Palmdale area and approximately 145 miles (233 km) from both Bakersfield and San Bernardino, the three nearest major urban centers. Private air travel in and out of the city is provided through the Inyokern Airport. There are currently no scheduled commercial flights in or out of Ridgecrest.
Ridgecrest is within two hours of the highest and the lowest points in the contiguous U.S.
More Cities of Interest in California