How to Find the Right Vet Assistant School near Santa Clarita California
Achieving your long term aspiration of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary college near Santa Clarita CA might at first feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you have to search for and enroll in a program that will provide the appropriate training so that you can succeed as a vet assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you approach assessing and contrasting programs so that you can make the correct selection? Many future students begin their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their residences. When they have identified some nearby colleges, they determine which ones have the most affordable tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important factors when comparing vet tech schools, they are not the only significant ones when making your evaluations. Qualifications such as internship programs and accreditation need to be considered also. The main idea is that there are questions you ought to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are looking at before you make an ultimate choice. We have presented several within this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll talk about the various responsibilities of vet assistants and techs and the training alternatives available.
The Responsibilities of a Veterinary Assistant and Technician
One of the first decisions that you will need to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your decision 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 have in common is that they all work under the immediate supervision of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And although there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Santa Clarita CA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, diagnose health issues, or conduct surgical procedures. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work exclusive of the standard veterinarian practice, for instance for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let’s take a look at the job functions and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a trade school or community college near Santa Clarita 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 associated with more complex activities, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared with assistants and generally obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary equivalent 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 involved functions, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medicine. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to vet techs and for the most part perform the same job functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires 4 years. Therefore the main difference 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 potential management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing exam for either licensing, registration or certification.
Vet technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may earn certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Santa Clarita CA area research facilities as well.
Veterinarian Online Degree Programs
An approach that might make sense for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online training program. Since the classes are offered over the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The curriculum is taught using various venues, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many veterinary technician and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can typically be completed as an internship or work study program at an area Santa Clarita CA veterinary practice or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in many instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenditures, for instance for travel and study supplies, may be lower compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just make sure that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician or assistant school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Tech Colleges
By now you should have decided on which veterinary certificate or degree that you would like to attain, and if you prefer to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of vet community colleges, vocational and trade schools in California and across the Country, you must ask some important questions in order to narrow down your list of alternatives. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and the cost of tuition. But we have already touched on other important qualifiers, for instance internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you need to choose a school that offers the degree and specialty that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the list of questions that you should ask the Santa Clarita CA veterinary assistant and tech programs that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It’s imperative that you verify that the vet assistant or tech program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As earlier mentioned, one of the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a rigorous screening process that confirms you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is in many cases a precondition for employment for many Santa Clarita CA vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the Program’s Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you select must have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and checking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the California school licensing department if there have been any complaints or violations involving your specific schools. As a final pointer, call some Santa Clarita CA veterinarians that you might want to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They might even suggest one or more programs not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to get practical hands on experience as a vet assistant or technician is to work in a clinical setting. Ask if the colleges you are considering have internship programs established with local veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial regarding the clinical training, but an internship may also help develop connections in the local Santa Clarita CA veterinarian community and aid in the search for a job after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Finding a job after graduating from a veterinary assistant or tech program can be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A low rate may suggest that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the colleges have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A high placement rate might mean that the Santa Clarita CA school has an excellent reputation within the veterinary community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are bigger, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Santa Clarita CA programs you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You may also want to participate in some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Ask for feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and find out what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Yes, we previously covered location, but there are a few more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your vet technician classes from work or home, you have to confirm that the driving 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, especially if the Santa Clarita CA school is located close by or within a large city. Also, if you do choose to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be increased tuition costs especially for community and state colleges. Of course attending 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 important that you determine if the California veterinarian colleges you are considering offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For instance, 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. Make sure that the class times you require are available near Santa Clarita CA before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family issues. You might discover that an online school is the best way to fit your veterinary education into your busy life.
Why Did You Want to Be a Vet Assistant?When prepping to interview for a veterinary job, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask veterinary prospects is "What compelled you to pick veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a vet assistant, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to veterinary care, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional vet tech and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Vet Assistant School near Santa Clarita CA
Picking the ideal veterinary assistant or tech school is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career providing treatment and care for pets and livestock. Future students considering vet tech or assistant programs must make their determination based on a number of key factors. Vet assistants, techs and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it’s very important that you decide on a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This applies to online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by selecting the right program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary assistant, tech or technologist in Santa Clarita CA.
A Little Bit About Santa Clarita CA
Santa Clarita, California
Santa Clarita, officially the City of Santa Clarita, is the fourth largest city in Los Angeles County, California, and the 24th largest in the state of California. The city has annexed a number of unincorporated areas, contributing to the large population increase. It is located about 35 miles (56 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. It is a notable example of a U.S. edge city or boomburb. Santa Clarita was ranked by Money magazine in 2006 as 18th of the top 100 places to live.
Santa Clarita was incorporated in December 1987 as the union of four unincorporated communities, Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus, and Valencia, most of which are situated on the land of the former Rancho San Francisco. The four communities retain separate identities, and it is common for residents to refer to a specific neighborhood when asked where they are from. Santa Clarita is bounded on the west by the Golden State Freeway (I-5). The Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14) runs northeast-southwest through an irregular east border, and the Newhall Pass is the city's southernmost point.
Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park and Stevenson Ranch are both commonly associated with Santa Clarita, but are located just outside the city limits.
More Cities of Interest in California