How to Find the Right Vet Assistant School near Portland Connecticut
Fulfilling your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet college near Portland CT could at first feel like an overwhelming task. After all, you need to search for and enroll in a school that will deliver the appropriate training to ensure that you can succeed as a vet technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you approach analyzing and contrasting programs so that you can make the ideal choice? Many aspiring students start their due diligence process by searching for campuses that are near their homes. After they have located some local colleges, they determine which ones have the lowest 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 comparisons. Factors such as internship programs and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. 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 choice. We have provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll discuss the various roles of veterinary techs and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Veterinary Technician and Assistant
Among the first decisions that you will have to make is whether you desire to train as a veterinary assistant, technologist or technician. Part of your decision might be based on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the main determiner will most likely be which specialization appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they both work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are numerous jobs that they can carry out within the Portland CT veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe drugs, diagnose health issues, or perform surgical procedures. In those areas they may only furnish assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work outside of the standard vet practice, such as for animal shelters, zoos or police departments. Let’s take a look at the job functions and training requirements for each specialization.
- Vet Assistants in the majority of cases will have gone through a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a vocational school or community college near Portland CT. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the completion of their duties. Normally they are not associated with more involved tasks, for example assisting with surgeries. A few of their normal duties may include working at the front desk, preparing and cleaning exam rooms and equipment, or handling pets during examinations.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training compared with assistants and typically obtain a two year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the vet equivalent of medical nurses, since their general job function is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more involved activities, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states presently require veterinary technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to vet technicians and basically carry out the same work functions. They are required to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which normally requires 4 years. Therefore 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 work opportunities, higher salaries and potential management positions. They are additionally mandated to pass a credentialing examination for either registration, certification or licensing.
Vet technicians and technologists can specialize in areas such as anesthesia, internal medicine or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Portland CT area research facilities as well.
Online Veterinary Schools
An option that might be a solution for those with a busy schedule or who are working full time while attending veterinarian college is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are made available through the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using multiple methods, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most 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 Portland CT veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances decrease the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for instance for commuting and study supplies, may be more affordable compared to more standard classroom courses. Just make certain that the online school that you choose is accredited, either by the AVMA or another nationally recognized accrediting agency. With the online classes and the clinical training, everything is provided 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.
Questions to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Technologist Degree Programs
By now you should have decided on which veterinarian credential that you would like to earn, and if you prefer to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, trade and vocational schools in Connecticut and across the Country, you should ask some qualifying questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we discussed in our introduction, many prospective students start by focusing on location and tuition expense. But we have previously touched on other significant qualifiers, such as internship programs and accreditation. And of course you need to choose a college that offers the specialty and degree that you would like to earn. These and other qualifications are addressed in the checklist of questions that you should ask the Portland CT vet technician and assistant schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet Program Accredited? It’s imperative that you confirm that the veterinary tech or assistant program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier stated, among the most highly regarded is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Vocational schools and colleges that are accredited by the AVMA have undergone a demanding screening process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is essential if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a precondition for employment for many Portland CT vet practices and hospitals.
What is the Program’s Reputation? The vet college or trade school and program you select should have an exceptional reputation within the vet field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools you are looking at for references from the employers in their job assistance network. Other pointers include looking on online school rating websites and checking with the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Connecticut school licensing department if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your targeted schools. As a final suggestion, call some Portland CT veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you get your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even suggest some schools not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective means to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet technician or assistant is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have internship programs established with local veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. The majority of veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number provide it through internships. Not only will the experience be invaluable relative to the practical training, but an internship may also help establish relationships in the local Portland CT vet community and aid in the search for a position after graduation.
Is there a Job Placement Program? Searching for a job after graduating from a veterinary tech or assistant college may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To start with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A low rate could suggest that the instructors were unqualified to teach the course of study or that some students were dissatisfied with the program and quit. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and find out what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate may indicate that the Portland CT school has an excellent reputation within the veterinarian community and has a considerable network of contacts for student placements. A lower rate could mean 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 bigger, you probably will get little or no individualized instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Portland CT programs you are researching what their class student to teacher ratios are. You may also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to observe the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and find out what their qualifications are as well as their approaches to teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we already talked about location, but there are several more points to make on the topic. If you are planning to drive to your veterinary technician classes from home or work, you need to make sure that the commuting time fits into your schedule. For example, driving during the weekend to check out the route won’t be the same as the commute during rush hour traffic, especially if the Portland CT school is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do opt 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, taking online classes might be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And finally, it’s important that you determine if the Connecticut vet colleges 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 at night. Some might only be able to attend class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make sure that the class times you require are available near Portland CT prior to enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss as a result of sickness, work or family responsibilities. You may find that an online school is the best way to fit your vet training into your busy life.
Why Did You Want to Become a Veterinary Technician?When prepping to interview for a veterinary job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask veterinary candidates is "What made you select veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a veterinary technician, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to veterinary care, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding vet tech and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Best Veterinary Technician College near Portland CT
Selecting the right veterinary assistant or tech program is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career providing care and treatment for animals. Students considering vet assistant or tech colleges must make their determination based on several key factors. Vet assistants, techs and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They usually handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals when needed. As we have covered, it’s essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an excellent reputation within the field. This applies to vet tech online colleges as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your alternatives so that you can make your final choice. And by selecting the best college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet assistant, tech or technologist in Portland CT.
A Little Bit About Portland CT
Portland is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 8,732 at the 2000 census. The town center is listed as a census-designated place (CDP). It is situated across the Connecticut River from Middletown. Brownstone quarried in Portland was used in the construction of Hartford's Old State House in 1796. The vast majority of the brownstone buildings in Connecticut (see College Row at Wesleyan University and the Long Walk at Trinity College) as well as the famous brownstones in New York City were built with brownstone from Portland's quarries.
About half of the town's perimeter is made up of the Connecticut River. The town has eight marinas and boat clubs as well as three 18-hole golf courses.
The Wangunk tribe lived in the area prior to European settlement, and lived in Portland continuously throughout the settler period. Wangunk descendants still live in the area today. Their name referred to the bend in the Connecticut River which curves around half of the town's perimeter.
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