If you’re considering a new career as a veterinary technician, or vet tech for short, then you’re first task should be choosing the right vet tech school for your needs.
Not all schools are created equal, and you’ll want to choose carefully or risk spending your hard earned money on a program you won’t be happy with down the road.
Some considerations when choose a good vet school include the facilities and instructors at the school, the curriculum being offered, location of the school, is it accredited, and of course the costs involved.
There are also a range of online vet school programs available, and this could be a good choice if you can’t find a good program in your area, or if you work and aren’t able to attend regular classes.
One of the major drawbacks of learning online is you won’t get the physical interaction with teachers, classmates, and live animals used in labs and other training exercises.
Another consideration is whether or not you’ll want to continue your education at some point, and move onto becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine.
Typically vet techs can find entry-level employment with a certificate or associate’s degree, while veterinarians are required to have a post-graduate education from one of the dedicated veterinary schools around the country.
What will you be learning in vet tech school?
The veterinary sciences, especially in the early years, require a well rounded education in topics such as animal physiology and anatomy, animal reproduction, animal behavior, medical mathematics, animal nutrition and more.
As a vet tech, your job will be to assist veterinarians in a wide range of daily tasks centered around the health and well-being of large or small animals, depending on the facility where you end up working.
Thus your education will involved learning how to treat injured animals, perform routine vaccinations and health screenings, spaying and neutering of dogs and cats, assisting in surgical procedures, consulting pet owners on the ongoing health of their animals, and administrative tasks around the animal hospital or clinic.
Consider the staff at the school
Also consider the faculty when considering a vet school, especially in a brick-and-mortar facility. Your education will be a major investment in time and money, so visit the school and talk to as many of the students and faculty as you can. Do the teachers appear knowledgeable, friendly and accessible? Do they seem open and willing to take your questions?
If not, you might want to consider another school, or even an online degree program as mentioned earlier. You need to be comfortable with the people you’ll be interacting with on a regular basis, after all, or you’re likely to become unhappy with your choice of schools very quickly.
Other important considerations
In addition to the faculty, you should also consider the school’s
student support services, such as post graduation job placement, and career counseling.
Also take a look at a vet tech school’s accreditation. Whether you’re looking to become technician, or perhaps even a veterinarian down the road, you should consider whether the school you’re considering is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA.
Also make sure the instructors at the school have significant real-life experience in the vet industry, and whether or not they’re licensed to practice in your state as well.
Another important consideration is whether or not you’ll be receiving clinical and hands-on instruction during your course work. Time spent with animal patients is invaluable experience, and one of those things that can’t be replicated in an online degree program.
And of course the cost of the school in question is another important factor in your decision. Will you need to get a student loan in order to attend this school? If so, how much, and at what interest rate? How long will it take for you to pay off the loan once you’ve graduated and found an entry-level position?
With the rise of student debt in this country, and the fact that it has exceeded credit card debt for the first time, this might one of the most important factors when choosing a school.