How to Find the Right Vet Tech Program near South Lake Tahoe California
Realizing your lifelong goal of working with and helping pets by enrolling in a veterinarian program near South Lake Tahoe CA may initially feel like an overwhelming undertaking. After all, you must search for and enroll in a program that will deliver the appropriate training so that you can be successful as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. But just how do you approach evaluating and contrasting programs so that you can make the correct selection? Many future students launch their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are close to their residences. When they have found some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and hone in on those. Although expense and location are important considerations 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 evaluated also. The main idea is that there are questions you should be asking the veterinary tech programs you are looking at before you make a final selection. We have presented several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll discuss the various roles of vet techs and assistants and the training alternatives available.
The Function of a Vet Tech and Assistant
One of the initial decisions that you will need to make is whether you plan to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be predicated on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the principal factor 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 immediate direction of a licensed and practicing veterinarian. And even though there are a number of jobs that they can carry out within the South Lake Tahoe CA veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, diagnose ailments, or conduct surgeries. In those areas they can only provide support to a licensed veterinarian. There are technologists and technicians that work exclusive of the conventional veterinarian practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have completed a formal 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 South Lake Tahoe CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the performance of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more complex tasks, for instance assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual functions may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or controlling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced 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 basic job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved duties, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medication. All states presently mandate that veterinary techs pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable 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 usually requires 4 years to complete. So the main difference between a vet technologist and a technician is the technologist’s more advanced level of education. But with an advanced degree comes more work options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also mandated to pass a credentialing exam for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or South Lake Tahoe CA area research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Courses
An alternative that might make sense for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full time while attending vet school is to enroll in an online program. Because the classes are made available over the internet, students can study on their own timetable wherever a computer is available. The syllabus is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of veterinary tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at an area South Lake Tahoe CA veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances reduce the cost of your education. Tuition and ancillary expenses, such as for commuting and study materials, may be cheaper compared to more traditional classroom programs. Just be sure that the program that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the practical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more self-reliant manner, an online veterinary technician or assistant program may be the perfect choice for you.
What to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Technician Schools
At this point you should have selected which veterinarian certificate or degree that you want to attain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in California and across the United States, you should ask some qualifying questions to help narrow down your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously mentioned other significant qualifiers, for instance accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you want to choose a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other factors are addressed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the South Lake Tahoe CA vet assistant and tech schools that you are considering.
Is the Vet School Accredited? It’s essential that you make sure that the vet technician or assistant school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously stated, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a rigorous screening process that confirms you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since many programs are not available for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is frequently a precondition for employment for a number of South Lake Tahoe CA vet practices and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The vet trade school or college and program you choose should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary community. You can start your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for references from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with online school rating websites and speaking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the California school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions involving your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, phone some South Lake Tahoe CA veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Ask what they think of your school choices. They may even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective way to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet assistant or technician is to work in a clinical setting. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have internship programs established with local veterinarians, vet hospitals or practices. Most veterinary medicine programs require practical training and a large number provide it by means of internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop associations in the local South Lake Tahoe CA veterinary community and assist in the search for a job after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Finding a job after graduating from a vet technician or assistant college may be challenging without the assistance of a job placement program. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are evaluating. A lower rate could indicate that the instructors were unqualified to teach the syllabus or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, verify that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may signify that the South Lake Tahoe CA school has an outstanding reputation within the vet community and has a significant network of contacts for student placements. A low rate might signify that the training is not well regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger in size, you probably will get little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the South Lake Tahoe CA programs you are researching what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to sit in on a couple of classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Ask for 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 College Located? Yes, we previously talked about location, but there are a couple of more points to make on the topic. If you are going to commute to your veterinary technician classes from home or work, you must make certain 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, particularly if the South Lake Tahoe CA school is located in or close by a large city. In addition, if you do decide to attend a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, attending online classes might be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and reduce the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it’s imperative that you ascertain if the California veterinarian schools you are exploring offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate your schedule. For instance, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or in the evenings. Others may only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you need are available near South Lake Tahoe CA prior to enrolling. Also, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss because of work, sickness or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online college is the best solution to fit your veterinary education into your active life.
Why Did You Want to Be a Vet Technician?When preparing to interview for a veterinary job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask veterinary candidates is "What made you select veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a veterinary technician, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to veterinary care, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding vet tech and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Veterinary Technician School near South Lake Tahoe CA
Enrolling in the ideal veterinary assistant or tech college is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career providing treatment and care for animals. Students considering veterinary tech or assistant programs must make their determination based on multiple key issues. Veterinary techs, assistants and technologists work in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it’s very important that you choose a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to narrow down your alternatives so that you can make your final choice. And by picking the ideal school, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet assistant, technician or technologist in South Lake Tahoe CA.
A Little Bit About South Lake Tahoe CA
South Lake Tahoe, California
South Lake Tahoe is the most populous city in El Dorado County, California, United States, in the Sierra Nevada. As its name suggests, the city is located on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe.
The city's population was 21,403 at the 2010 census, down from 23,609 at the 2000 census. The city extends about 5 miles (8 km) west-southwest along U.S. Route 50, also known as Lake Tahoe Boulevard. The east end of the city, on the California-Nevada state line right next to the town of Stateline, Nevada, is mainly geared towards tourism, with T-shirt shops, restaurants, hotels, and Heavenly Mountain Resort with the Nevada casinos just across the state line in Stateline. The western end of town is mainly residential, and clusters around "The Y", the X-shaped intersection of US 50, State Route 89, and the continuation of Lake Tahoe Boulevard after it loses its federal highway designation.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which 10.2 square miles (26 km2) is land and 6.4 square miles (17 km2), or 38.80%, is water. Its elevation is about 6,237 feet (1,901 m) above sea level.
More Cities of Interest in California