right vet tech program

Tips for Selecting the Right Vet Tech Program

They say that pets are not our whole life – but they can make our life whole. Yes, there’s no question that people love their pets, and they make the world a brighter place. And the healthcare heroes of the animal kingdom, also known as veterinary technician (or vet tech), are an important part of keeping those pets happy and healthy. If you’ve got a soft spot for 4-legged friends and are looking for a way to make a difference in their lives, a career as a vet tech is a great option.

And once you’ve made the decision to pursue a career caring for furry friends of all kinds, the next step is choosing the right training program. To make sure you find the right program and training for your goals, we’ve rounded up some tips for helping you select the vet tech program that is just right for your future.

Identify your goals – This step is the first step to dialing in exactly what you envision for your future career.  That means taking the time to really research the world of veterinary technology and truly defining your goals. Doing this on the front end will help you narrow your focus and point you in the direction of the program that has the features and qualities you need.

Start by asking yourself some questions:

What kind of work does a vet tech do on a daily basis?

On a typical day, you can expect to do some or all of the following activities as a vet tech.

  • Greet patients and perform initial triage
  • Conduct physical exams
  • Drawing blood or other samples for evaluation
  • Assist with or perform x-rays
  • Sterilize and prepare surgical equipment
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Administer medications and immunizations
  • Update client records
  • Client communication and education

Does the clinical part of being a vet tech appeal to you?

If hands-on clinical work makes you squeamish, you may want to consider a different role in the veterinary world. There are other career paths that are more focused on the administrative side of veterinary medicine, so it’s important to consider what feels right for you.

Do you want to specialize in a specific species of animal such as horses or cats?

Just like human healthcare, there are many specializations within the field of veterinary medicine. Some clinics cater to cats only, or equine health. There are also veterinarians who specialize in livestock, avian medicine and even reptiles! After all, every different species of animal requires unique care. Consider what type of facility you’d like to work in and the kind of animals you want to work with. Answering these questions will help you determine which program and facilities fit your needs.

Research the requirements

You should also think about what type of certifications and credentials you’ll need to reach your goals as a vet tech. Find out what the state requirements to become a vet tech are, and also what employers want in a vet tech. Different programs may offer different levels of certification, so it’s important to be clear about what qualifications you’ll need. Most vet tech programs are 2-year associate degree programs followed by the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Examination) certification exam.

Consider your lifestyle

Before selecting a program or school to get your vet tech training, you’ll want to consider your schedule and lifestyle. Will you need day or night classes? Does the program offer some online options? How will your training fit into your work schedule if you’re currently employed? What other commitments do you have that might affect your schedule during your training, such as caring for a family member or pets?

Thinking through your obligations and daily routine ahead of time to manage your time more efficiently and get the most out of your education.

What is the cost of the program?

Before selecting a school to get your vet tech training, you’ll need to find out what the costs will be and how you’ll pay for the program. Most schools have a financial aid department to assist you with determining if you qualify for any loans, grants or scholarships. Just be sure to understand ALL the costs up front, so there are no surprises once you’re enrolled.

Research the school’s accreditation

Accreditation matters. It’s how you know a school meets certain standards and can provide a quality education. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) is an accrediting body for vet tech programs. By attending an accredited program, you’ll have access to better curriculum and a better chance of getting a job in the field because employers are more likely to hire graduates from accredited programs. Checking the school’s accreditation will save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.

Check out student reviews

Reviews from current and past students can help you understand what to expect from a program, the quality of instruction, and the overall experience of being part of the program. Also, try to talk to someone who is already working as a vet tech. Hearing about their experiences first-hand can be invaluable when it comes to preparing you for the reality of working in the field. Ask about their daily tasks how they felt their program prepared them for their work.

Career outlook

Jobs for vet techs are predicted to grow at a much faster rate than other occupations. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the industry will add 20,000 new jobs by 2031. But there are also a projected 23,900 openings annually for vet techs because of the need to replace those who are retiring or leaving the field.

It’s safe to say a career that allows you to do what you love for a living, is a career worth pursuing. So, if you are passionate about improving the lives of animals, a future that is all about that – might be the perfect fit. To learn more, visit www.vettechcolleges.com/ for a state by state directory of accredited programs.

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