How to Select a Veterinary Assistant Program near Bristol Connecticut
Achieving your long term dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinary college near Bristol CT might initially feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you need to find and enroll in a program that will deliver the proper training so that you can succeed as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you go about reviewing and contrasting colleges so that you can make the best choice? Many future students launch their due diligence process by looking for colleges that are near their homes. Once they have located some nearby colleges, they find out which ones have the most affordable tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important considerations when comparing vet tech schools, they are by no means the only important ones when making your assessments. Qualifiers such as accreditation and internship programs should be considered as well. The point is that there are questions you need to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are considering before you make an ultimate choice. We have provided several within this article in order to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll go over the various responsibilities of vet assistants and techs and the training options available.
The Job of a Vet Tech and Assistant
Among the first decisions that you will need to make is whether you want 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 commit 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 both work under the immediate direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of tasks that they can carry out within the Bristol CT veterinary practice 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 vet. There are technologists and technicians that work outside of the typical vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the responsibilities and education requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have undergone a formal training program, either as an intern or apprentice in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school near Bristol CT. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not involved with more complex undertakings, such as assisting with surgical procedures. Some of their usual responsibilities may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing examination rooms and equipment, or controlling pets during exams.
- Vet Technicians get more advanced training compared to assistants and usually obtain a 2 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 veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they stand apart from vet assistants is that they are included in more involved functions, such as assisting with surgeries or administering medicine. All states currently require vet techs pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are similar to veterinary techs and essentially carry out the same job functions. They are mandated to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires four years to complete. So 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 opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or emergency care. Some may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Bristol CT area research facilities as well.
Online Vet Training Classes
An approach that might be a solution for those with a hectic schedule or who are working full time while going to veterinary college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are made available over the internet, students can attend on their own schedule wherever a computer is available. The educational program is taught using several venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since many vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that portion can normally be carried out as an internship or work study program at an area Bristol CT veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, can in some instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary costs, for example for travel and study supplies, may be cheaper compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you select is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally certified accrediting agency. With the online courses and the clinical training, everything is furnished for a complete education. So if you are dedicated enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech or assistant program may be the ideal option for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Technologist Training Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinarian certificate or degree that you wish to obtain, and if you want to study online or attend a school on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, vocational and technical schools in Connecticut and across the United States, you need to ask some relevant questions in order to fine tune your list of options. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other essential qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And naturally you need to enroll in a school that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are reviewed in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the Bristol CT vet technician and assistant colleges that you are reviewing.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It’s imperative that you make sure that the vet technician or assistant program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As previously mentioned, one of the most highly respected is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Trade schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have gone through a demanding screening process that confirms you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is important if you are requesting a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges. And finally, having a certificate or degree from an accredited program is in many cases a requirement for employment for a number of Bristol CT veterinarian practices and hospitals.
What is the Program’s Reputation? The vet vocational school or college and program you choose must have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can initiate your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for endorsements from the employers in their job placement network. Other tips include checking with online school rating websites and checking with the school’s accrediting organizations as well. You can ask the Connecticut school licensing department if there have been any grievances or violations involving your specific schools. As a final tip, phone some Bristol CT veterinary clinics that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Ask what they think of your school selections. They might even suggest some colleges not on your list.
Are Internships Offered? The best way to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet tech or assistant is to work in a medical environment. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have internship programs set up with area veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs require clinical training and a large number furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable as far as the practical training, but an internship may also help build connections in the local Bristol CT vet community and aid in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a vet tech or assistant college can be difficult without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the colleges you are considering. A lower rate could indicate that the teachers were unqualified to teach the curriculum or that a number of students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the schools have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate could indicate that the Bristol CT college has an excellent reputation within the veterinary 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 Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you may get little or no personalized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Bristol CT schools you are considering what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You may also decide to participate in some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers 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 College Located? Of course, we already discussed location, but there are a few more points to consider on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your vet technician classes from work or home, you have to make certain that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to investigate the route won’t be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, particularly if the Bristol CT campus is located near or in a large city. Also, if you do opt to attend a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees particularly for community and state colleges. Of course attending classes online might be an alternative that will give you more flexibility and minimize the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And finally, it’s imperative that you ascertain if the Connecticut veterinary schools you are evaluating offer class times flexible enough to fit your schedule. For example, a number of students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night. Others may only be able to attend classes in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available near Bristol CT before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss because of sickness, work or family responsibilities. You might discover that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Vet Assistant?When preparing to interview for a veterinary job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask veterinary applicants is "What drove you to select veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a vet assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to veterinary care, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional vet tech and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Enroll in the Best Veterinary Technologist Training Program near Bristol CT
Picking the right vet assistant or tech school is a critical first step to beginning a gratifying career delivering care and treatment for pets and livestock. Students thinking about veterinary tech or assistant colleges must make their determination based on a number of key factors. Vet techs, assistants and technologists work in veterinary clinics and hospitals and animal shelters. They commonly handle administrative responsibilities and support 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 goes for online vet tech colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for reviewing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final choice. And by choosing the best college, you can achieve your goal of becoming a veterinary assistant, tech or technologist in Bristol CT.
A Little Bit About Bristol CT
Bristol is a suburban city located in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States, 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Hartford. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 60,477. Bristol is best known as the home of ESPN, whose central studios are in the city. Bristol is also home to Lake Compounce, America's oldest continuously operating theme park. Bristol was known as a clock-making city in the 19th century, and is home to the American Clock & Watch Museum. Bristol's nicknames include the "Bell City", because of a history manufacturing innovative spring-driven doorbells, and the "Mum City", because it was once a leader in chrysanthemum production and still holds an annual Bristol Mum Festival. In 2010, Bristol was ranked 84th on Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live". In 2013, Hartford Magazine ranked Bristol as Greater Hartford's top municipality in the "Best Bang for the Buck" category.
Bristol is about 20 miles west of Hartford, 120 miles southwest from Boston, and approximately 100 miles northeast of New York City.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.8 square miles (69.5 km2), of which 26.4 square miles (68.4 km2) is land and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km2), or 1.51%, is water. The city contains several distinct sections, including Chippens Hill in the northwestern quarter of Bristol, Edgewood in the northeastern quarter, and Forestville, and in the southeastern quarter. The majority of Bristol's area is residential in character, though since 2008 there has been a push for commercial development in the city. The city is part of the Naugatuck Valley Regional Planning Organization following the closure of the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, the metropolitan planning organization for Bristol, New Britain, and surrounding towns for decades.
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