How to Pick a Vet Assistant Program near Thousand Oaks California
Fulfilling your long term goal of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a veterinary program near Thousand Oaks CA could initially seem like a daunting undertaking. After all, you have to locate and enroll in a school that will provide the necessary training to ensure that you can be successful as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you approach reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the correct choice? Many potential students start their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are close to their homes. Once they have identified some local schools, they find out which ones have the cheapest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are significant considerations when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your comparisons. Factors such as accreditation and internship programs need to be considered also. The main idea is that there are questions you need 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 discuss the various responsibilities of vet techs and assistants and the training alternatives offered.
The Job of a Veterinary Assistant and Tech
One of the first decisions that you will have to make is if you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your determination may be based on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your education, but the principal factor will probably be which specialty appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they each work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And even though there are many jobs that they can carry out within the Thousand Oaks CA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they can only provide assistance to a licensed vet. 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 responsibilities and education requirements for each specialty.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a practice, or by finishing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college near Thousand Oaks CA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the execution of their duties. Usually they are not involved with more involved activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their usual duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning examination rooms and equipment, or handling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training in contrast to assistants and typically acquire a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a fashion the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their fundamental job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are engaged in more complicated duties, for instance assisting with surgeries or providing medication. All states presently require vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and essentially perform the same job functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. 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 career opportunities, increased salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally required to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. A number may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in laboratories or Thousand Oaks CA area research facilities also.
Veterinarian Online Programs
An option that may make sense for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to vet college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are provided via the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The syllabus is taught using several methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since many vet tech and technologist degrees require clinical training, that part can usually be fulfilled as an internship or work study program at a local Thousand Oaks CA veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in some instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and supplementary expenses, for instance for traveling and study materials, may be more affordable compared to more traditional classroom courses. Just confirm that the online school that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting organization. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet technician or assistant program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Vet Assistant and Technician Schools
By now you probably have determined which veterinarian certificate or degree that you would like to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, trade and vocational schools in California as well as across the USA, you should ask some qualifying questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many prospective students start by concentrating on location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other essential qualifiers, which include accreditation and internship programs. And of course you want to choose a college that offers the degree and specialty that you want to earn. These and other qualifications are covered in the checklist of questions that you should ask the Thousand Oaks CA vet technician and assistant schools that you are reviewing.
Is the Veterinary Program Accredited? It’s important that you confirm that the veterinary assistant or technician college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier mentioned, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through an extensive screening process that confirms you will receive a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential 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 school is often a requirement for employment for many Thousand Oaks CA vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinary trade school or college and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are interested in for testimonials from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on online 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 violations relating to your specific schools. As a final tip, contact some Thousand Oaks CA veterinary clinics that you might wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think of your school selections. They might even recommend some programs not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best approach to obtain practical hands on training as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Find out if the schools you are looking at have internship programs set up with area veterinarians, vet practices or hospitals. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable regarding the clinical training, but an internship can also help develop connections in the local Thousand Oaks CA veterinary community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is Job Assistance Provided? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary tech or assistant program may be difficult without the assistance of a job placement program. To start with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are reviewing. A lower rate could signify that the teachers were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that a number of 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 high placement rate may indicate that the Thousand Oaks CA school has an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate could indicate that the training is not highly regarded by employers or that the job placement program is a failure at placing students.
How Large are the Classes? If the classes are larger sized, you most likely will receive little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Thousand Oaks CA colleges you are researching what their classroom student to teacher ratios are. You may also want to sit in on a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between students and instructors. Get evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, speak with the instructors and determine what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we already covered location, but there are a couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to commute to your vet tech classes from work or home, you need to confirm that the commuting 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 Thousand Oaks CA college is located in or near a larger city. Also, if you do decide to enroll in a school in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition charges especially for community and state colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes may be an option that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s essential that you determine if the California vet schools you are looking at offer class times flexible enough to accommodate your schedule. For example, many students continue working full time and can only go to classes on the weekends or at night. Some may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are offered near Thousand Oaks CA prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make-up classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family responsibilities. You might find that an online school is the ideal 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 position, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask veterinary candidates is "What made you select veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a vet tech, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to veterinary care, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent vet tech and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt 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 assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Vet Technologist School near Thousand Oaks CA
Picking the right veterinary assistant or tech school is a critical first step to starting a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for animals. Students thinking about vet assistant or tech schools must make their selection based on a number of key issues. Vet assistants, techs and technologists are employed in vet clinics, animal hospitals and animal shelters. They usually take on administrative responsibilities and support the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it’s essential that you enroll in a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the profession. This goes for vet tech online schools as well. By asking the questions included in our checklist for evaluating schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final decision. And by picking the best college, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist in Thousand Oaks CA.
A Little Bit About Thousand Oaks CA
Thousand Oaks, California
Thousand Oaks is the second-largest city in Ventura County, California, United States. It is in the northwestern part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, approximately 35 miles (56 km) from Downtown Los Angeles and is less than 15 mi (24 km) from the Los Angeles city neighborhood of Woodland Hills. It was named after the many oak trees that grow in the area, and the city seal is adorned with an oak.
The city forms the central populated core of the Conejo Valley. Thousand Oaks was incorporated in 1964, but has since expanded to the west and east. Two-thirds of neighboring Westlake Village and most of Newbury Park were annexed by the city during the late 1960s and 1970s. The Los Angeles County–Ventura County line crosses at the city's eastern border with Westlake Village. The population was estimated to be 129,339 in 2015, up from 126,683 at the 2010 census. Thousand Oaks is 55 square miles, which, for comparison, is 20 percent larger than San Francisco.
Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park were part of a master-planned city, created by the Janss Investment Company in the mid-1950s. It included about 1,000 custom home lots, 2,000 single-family residences, a regional shopping center, a 200-acre (0.81 km2) industrial park and several neighborhood shopping centers. The median home price is around $669,500.
More Cities of Interest in California