How to Choose a Veterinary Assistant Program near Decatur Georgia
Achieving your lifelong aspiration of working with and caring for pets by enrolling in a vet college near Decatur GA might initially feel like a daunting undertaking. After all, you must locate and enroll in a school that will deliver the proper 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 ideal selection? Many potential students begin their due diligence process by looking for schools that are near their homes. Once they have identified some local schools, they ascertain which ones have the lowest tuition and hone in on those. Although location and cost are important considerations when evaluating 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 also. The point 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 provided several in this article to help get you started, but before we discuss them we’ll explore the different responsibilities of veterinary assistants and techs and the training options available.
The Function of a Vet Tech and Assistant
Among the initial decisions that you will have to make is if you wish to train as a veterinary assistant, technician or technologist. Part of your preference may be dependent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit to your training, but the main determiner will probably be which specialization appeals to you the most. What vet techs and assistants have in common is that they both work under the direct direction of a practicing and licensed veterinarian. And although there are a number of duties that they can perform within the Decatur GA veterinary practice or hospital, they can’t prescribe medicines, diagnose health issues, or carry out surgeries. In those areas they may only provide assistance to a licensed veterinarian. There are technicians and technologists that work exclusive of the standard veterinarian practice, for example for animal shelters, zoos or law enforcement. Let’s take a look at the duties and education prerequisites for each position.
- Vet Assistants in almost all instances will have undergone a structured training program, either as an apprentice or intern in a practice, or by graduating from a certificate program at a vocational school or community college near Decatur GA. As the name implies, their job function is to assist the veterinarians and vet technicians in the performance of their duties. Generally they are not involved with more involved tasks, such as assisting with surgeries. A few of their regular duties may include working at the front desk, cleaning and preparing exam rooms and equipment, or handling animals during exams.
- Vet Technicians undergo more advanced training in contrast to assistants and typically acquire a 2 year Associate Degree, preferably from an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredited program. They are in a sense the veterinary counterparts of medical nurses, since their general job duty is to assist vets with diagnosing and treating animal patients. Where they differ from vet assistants is that they are involved in more involved duties, for instance assisting with surgical procedures or providing medicine. All states presently mandate that vet technicians pass a credentialing examination for either licensing, registration or certification.
- Vet Technologists are comparable to veterinary techs and essentially perform the same work functions. They are required to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in veterinary technology, which generally takes 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 job options, increased salaries and potential management positions. They are also required to pass a credentialing exam for either registration, certification or licensing.
Veterinary technicians and technologists may specialize in areas such as internal medicine, anesthesia or urgent care. Many may obtain certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) to work in labs or Decatur GA area research facilities as well.
Veterinary Online Training Classes
An option that may be a solution for those with a busy lifestyle or who are working full time while attending veterinary school is to enroll in an online program. Since the classes are made available by means of the internet, students can attend on their own timetable wherever a computer is accessible. The educational program is taught using multiple methods, including videos, slide shows and live streaming webinars. And since the majority of vet technician and technologist degrees require practical training, that segment can usually be carried out as an internship or work study program at a local Decatur GA veterinarian clinic or hospital. Distance learning, as it is also called, may in many instances lower the cost of your education. Tuition and secondary expenses, for example for traveling and study supplies, can be more affordable 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 classes and the practical training, everything is provided for a comprehensive education. So if you are disciplined enough to learn in this more independent fashion, an online vet tech or assistant program may be the perfect choice for you.
Questions to Ask Vet Assistant and Tech Programs
At this point you probably have decided on which veterinary credential that you want to obtain, and if you intend to study online or attend a college on campus. Since there are an abundance of veterinary community colleges, vocational and trade schools in Georgia as well as across the USA, you must ask some relevant questions in order to narrow down your list of options. As we pointed out in our opening, many potential students start by prioritizing location and tuition expense. But we have previously pointed out other important qualifiers, for example internship programs and accreditation. And obviously you want to enroll in a school that offers the degree and specialty that you are interested in. These and other factors are covered in the checklist of questions that you need to ask the Decatur GA vet assistant and technician programs that you are looking at.
Is the Veterinary College Accredited? It’s imperative that you confirm that the veterinary tech or assistant college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization. As previously discussed, among 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 rigorous review process that ensures you will get a superior education. Also, accreditation is necessary if you are applying for a student loan or financial assistance, since a large number of programs are not available for non-accredited schools. Last, having a degree or certificate from an accredited program is in many cases a prerequisite for employment for a number of Decatur GA veterinary clinics and hospitals.
What is the College’s Reputation? The veterinary vocational school or college and program you enroll in should have an exceptional reputation within the veterinary field. You can start your due diligence by asking the schools 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 Georgia school licensing authority if there have been any complaints or infractions relating to your specific schools. As a final recommendation, call some Decatur GA veterinary clinics that you may want to work for after you receive your training. Ask what they think about your school selections. They might even suggest one or more colleges not on your list.
Are there Internship Programs? The most effective approach to obtain clinical hands on training as a vet assistant or tech is to work in a professional setting. Find out if the programs you are considering have internship programs established with area veterinarians, vet clinics or hospitals. Most veterinary medicine programs mandate clinical training and many furnish it through internships. Not only will the experience be valuable relative to the clinical training, but an internship can also help build associations in the local Decatur GA veterinarian community and assist in the search for employment after graduation.
Is there a Job Assistance Program? Getting a job after graduating from a vet assistant or tech school may be challenging without the help of a job placement program. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the schools you are considering. A lower rate may indicate that the instructors were ineffective at teaching the curriculum or that some students were disappointed with the program and dropped out. Next, verify that the colleges have a job placement program and ask what their placement rates are. A higher placement rate could signify that the Decatur GA program has an exceptional reputation within the veterinarian community and has a substantial network of contacts for student placements. A low rate may signify that the training is not highly 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 sized, you probably will receive little or no one-on-one instruction from the teachers. Solicit from the Decatur GA programs you are researching what their classroom teacher to student ratios are. You might also decide to sit in on some classes (if practical) to monitor the interaction between teachers and students. Get evaluations from students relating to the quality of instruction. Also, talk with the instructors and determine 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 couple of more points to consider on the topic. If you are going to drive to your vet technician classes from work or home, you must make sure that the driving 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, particularly if the Decatur GA school 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 increased tuition costs particularly for state and community colleges. On the other hand, taking classes online may be an alternative that will provide you with more flexibility and minimize the necessity for travel.
Is the Class Schedule Flexible? And last, it’s important that you ascertain if the Georgia vet colleges you are evaluating offer class times that are sufficiently flexible to fit your schedule. For instance, many students continue to work full time and can only attend classes on the weekends or at night. Others might only be able to go to class in the morning or later in the afternoon. Make certain that the class times you require are available near Decatur GA before enrolling. In addition, find out if you can make up classes that you may miss because of sickness, work or family responsibilities. You may discover that an online program is the best way to fit your vet education into your hectic life.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Vet Tech?When prepping to interview for a veterinary job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask veterinary prospects is "What compelled you to pick veterinary care as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a vet tech, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to veterinary care, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional vet tech and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Right Vet Tech Training Program near Decatur GA
Selecting the ideal veterinary technician program is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career delivering treatment and care for pets and livestock. Potential students looking into vet tech or assistant colleges must make their selection based on a number of key issues. Vet assistants, techs and technologists are employed in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics and animal shelters. They typically handle administrative duties and support the veterinarian with the animals as needed. As we have covered, 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 schools as well. By asking the questions included 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 best college, you can reach your goal of becoming a vet assistant, tech or technologist in Decatur GA.
A Little Bit About Decatur GA
Decatur is a city in, and the county seat of, DeKalb County, Georgia, United States and is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. With a population of 20,148 in the 2013 census, the municipality is sometimes assumed to be larger since multiple zip codes in unincorporated DeKalb County bear the Decatur name. The city is served by three MARTA rail stations. The city is located approximately 5 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta and shares its western border with Atlanta.
Decatur was established at the intersection of two Native American trails: the Sandtown, which led east from the Chattahoochee River at Utoy Creek, and the Shallowford, which follows today's Clairmont Road, and eventually crossed near Roswell. It was named for United States Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur.
During the American Civil War, Decatur became a strategic site in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. In July 1864, Major-General James McPherson occupied the town to cut off the Confederates' supply line from Augusta. On July 22, during the Battle of Atlanta, Confederate cavalry under Major-General Joseph Wheeler attacked McPherson's supply wagons and the Union troops left to defend the wagons. A historical marker at the old courthouse marks the site of this skirmish.
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