People who want a career in the animal healthcare field often choose to become a veterinary technician, also called an animal health technician. Typically, the path to a career as a veterinary technician requires an associate's or bachelor's degree in veterinary technology, or a diploma or certificate from a veterinary technology school. Veterinary technician classes are available at many colleges and universities, as well as at many trade schools or even veterinary-hospital training facilities. It's important to look at certain factors before choosing the best veterinary technician classes.
One of the first things too look at is whether the veterinary technician classes are part of an accredited veterinary technician program. Accreditation means that a third-party organization has reviewed and approved the veterinary technician classes. Many states require that a vet tech be certified or licensed. Accredited programs will be better able to prepare students for the license exams.
Animal health technicians aiming for higher salaries and more opportunities often go for the four-year degree. People who may want to eventually get a master's degree or higher will want to choose this route. Many community and junior colleges offer two-year technician training programs for those wanting to enter the job market earlier. Two-year colleges are typically one of the least expensive ways to becoming a vet tech.
Many trade schools offer 18-24-month veterinary technician programs. Often they have flexible part-time, weekend, and evening classes to accommodate students' schedules. Some even offer online classes. There are also private vet tech training schools. Sometimes these facilities are associated with a veterinary hospital where students get real-life clinical experience by watching and learning from practicing veterinarians or technicians.
There are even distance-learning programs that offer veterinary technician training via mail or the Internet. These can be handy for getting a technical foundation in animal health technology, but often don't provide the hands-on experience that should be part of a good vet tech program. In fact, to be accredited, a veterinary technician training program must offer hands-on experience, and most accredited schools fulfill this by offering internships, externships, or practicums for all students.
Other things to consider when evaluating veterinary technician classes are location, cost, and availability of financial aid, as well as the school's faculty. Learning from teachers who have clinical experience can offer valuable insight into the veterinary field. Post-graduate job-placement services and certification-exam preparation are also important criteria when evaluating training program options.