How to Enroll In a Vet Assistant Program near Key West Florida
Realizing your long term dream of working with and helping animals by enrolling in a veterinarian college near Key West FL may at first feel like a daunting task. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will deliver the proper training to ensure that you can succeed as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. But just how do you tackle assessing and contrasting programs so that you can make the ideal choice? Many aspiring students begin their due diligence process by searching for schools that are close to their residences. When they have identified some area colleges, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and focus on those. Although location and expense are important factors when evaluating 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 need to be asking the veterinary tech programs you are evaluating before you make an ultimate choice. We have presented several in this article to help get you started, but before we review them we’ll go over the various responsibilities of vet techs and assistants and the training alternatives offered.
The Job of a Veterinary Technician and Assistant
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is whether you wish to train as a veterinary technician, assistant or technologist. Part of your preference might be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest in your training, but the primary determiner will undoubtedly be which specialization appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants share in common is that they all work under the immediate guidance of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And while there are a number of jobs that they can carry out within the Key West FL veterinary clinic or hospital, they can’t prescribe medications, 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 outside of the typical vet practice, for example for zoos, animal shelters or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and training requirements for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all cases will have undergone a formal training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a vet clinic or hospital, or by finishing a certificate program at a community college or vocational school near Key West FL. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet techs in the completion of their duties. Generally they are not associated with more complicated activities, for example assisting with surgical procedures. A few of their regular functions may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during examinations.
- Vet Technicians receive more extensive training compared with assistants and normally acquire a two year Associate Degree, ideally from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinarian counterparts of medical nurses, since their basic job duty is to assist veterinarians with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they vary from veterinary assistants is that they are involved in more complicated activities, such as assisting with surgical procedures or administering medicine. All states currently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and basically carry out the same job functions. They are required to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which typically takes four years to complete. So 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 work opportunities, higher salaries and possible management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing examination for either certification, registration or licensing.
Veterinary techs and technologists can specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or emergency care. Many may acquire certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Key West FL area research facilities also.
Online Veterinary Training Classes
An option that may be a solution for those with a hectic lifestyle or who are working full-time while going to veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are offered by means of the internet, students can study on their own schedule wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using multiple venues, including slide shows, videos and live streaming webinars. And since most vet tech and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can typically be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Key West FL veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenditures, such as for traveling and study materials, can be lower compared to more conventional classroom programs. Just make sure that the program that you enroll in 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 comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent mode, an online vet technician or assistant school may be the perfect choice for you.
Things to Ask Veterinary Assistant and Tech Degree Programs
At this point you should have selected which veterinary credential that you wish to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a program on campus. Since there are a large number of veterinarian community colleges, technical and vocational schools in Florida as well as across the United States, you need to ask some important questions to help fine tune your list of alternatives. As we mentioned in our opening, many future students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have already touched on other essential qualifiers, such as accreditation and internship programs. And obviously you need to enroll in a college that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other factors are addressed in the list of questions that you need to ask the Key West FL vet technician and assistant schools that you are looking at.
Is the Vet College Accredited? It’s important that you confirm that the veterinary assistant or technician program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. As earlier 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 thorough review process that ensures you will get a quality education. Also, accreditation is important if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since numerous programs are not available for non-accredited programs. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is often a precondition for employment for many Key West FL vet clinics and hospitals.
What is the School’s Reputation? The veterinary college or vocational school and program you select should have an outstanding reputation within the veterinary field. You can begin your due diligence by asking the colleges you are reviewing for testimonials from the employers in their job placement network. Other pointers include checking with internet school rating websites and contacting the school’s accrediting agencies as well. You can ask the Florida school licensing authority if there have been any grievances or violations relating to your specific schools. As a final pointer, call some Key West FL veterinarians that you may wish to work for after you go through your training. Find out what they think about your school choices. They may even recommend one or more colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The best means to obtain clinical hands on experience as a vet assistant or tech is to work in a professional environment. Ask if the programs you are looking at have internship programs arranged with local veterinarians, vet hospitals or clinics. Almost all veterinary medicine programs mandate practical training and a large number furnish it by way of internships. Not only will the experience be beneficial as far as the clinical training, but an internship can also help build relationships in the local Key West FL veterinary community and help in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a veterinary technician or assistant school can be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the programs you are evaluating. A low rate may signify that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the syllabus or that a number of students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, check that the schools have a job assistance program and ask what their placement rates are. A high placement rate may indicate that the Key West FL college has an outstanding reputation within the vet community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may indicate that the training is not well thought of by employers or that the job placement program is ineffective at placing students.
How Big are the Classes? If the classes are larger, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Key West FL schools you are considering what their class teacher to student ratios are. You might also want to participate in a few classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between instructors and students. Get feedback from students concerning the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the teachers and determine what their qualifications are as well as their methods of teaching.
Where is the Campus Located? Of course, we previously discussed location, but there are several more points to consider on the subject. If you are going to commute to your vet tech 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, especially if the Key West FL college is located in or close by a large city. Also, if you do opt to enroll in a college in another state or even outside of your County of residence, there may be higher tuition fees especially for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking online classes may be an option that will provide you with more flexibility and decrease the need for travel.
Do the Classes Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s imperative that you ascertain if the Florida vet programs you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For example, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night. Some might only be able to attend classes in the morning or in the afternoon. Confirm that the class times you require are offered near Key West FL before enrolling. In addition, determine if you can make-up classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family responsibilities. You may find that an online school is the best solution to fit your vet education into your busy life.
Why Did You Want to Become a Veterinary Assistant?When prepping to interview for a veterinary position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask veterinary prospects is "What drove you to pick veterinary care as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a vet assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to veterinary care, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional vet tech and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Vet Tech Degree Program near Key West FL
Choosing the right vet assistant or tech college is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career providing care and treatment for animals. Students thinking about veterinary tech or assistant colleges need to make their selection based on multiple key factors. Vet assistants, techs and technologists work in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically take on administrative responsibilities and assist the veterinarian with the animal patients when needed. As we have discussed, it’s essential that you select a veterinary medicine program that is both accredited and has an outstanding reputation within the field. This goes for online vet tech schools as well. By asking the questions provided in our checklist for assessing schools, you will be able to reduce your choices so that you can make your final decision. And by choosing the right program, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a vet technician, assistant or technologist in Key West FL.
A Little Bit About Key West FL
Key West, Florida
Key West is an island city in Florida and the county seat of Monroe County. The city boundaries include the island of Key West and several nearby islands, as well as the section of Stock Island north of U.S. Route 1, on the adjacent key just east of the city. Sigsbee Park—originally known as Dredgers Key—and Fleming Key, both located to the north, and Sunset Key located to the west are all included in the city boundaries. Both Fleming Key and Sigsbee Park are part of Naval Air Station Key West and are inaccessible to the general public. Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and the southern terminus of U.S. Route 1, State Road A1A, the East Coast Greenway and, before 1935, the Florida East Coast Railway.
Key West is 129 miles (208 km) southwest of Miami by air, about 160 miles (260 km) by car, and 106 miles (171 km) north-northeast of Havana, Cuba. Cuba, at its closest point, is 94 miles (151 km) south. Key West is a port of call for many passenger cruise ships. The Key West International Airport provides airline service. Naval Air Station Key West is an important year round training site for naval aviation due to the tropical weather, which is also the reason Key West was chosen as the Winter White House of President Harry S. Truman. The central business district is located along Duval Street and includes much of the northwestern corner of the island. The official city motto is "One Human Family."
In Pre-Colonial times Key West was inhabited by the Calusa people. The first European to visit was Juan Ponce de León in 1521. As Florida became a Spanish territory, a fishing and salvage village with a small garrison was established here.
More Cities of Interest in Florida