Nov 18, 2010
19
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iam currently working as a nanny and have done so for years.The downside of this job is that im in between jobs every few years and i cant continue working in this field.I love being with animals and started researching some courses to be a vet assistant.I found an online course for very resonable pymnts through Penn Foster and am considering doing this to get a certificate to be an assistant.My only option right now is doing an online course versus attending classes at a local college.I have checked out this school and everything looks good.My few questions are:
1.have any of you done any online courses to be an assistant?
2.do you really need to take classes to be an assistant?
3.would it be better to have this course and certificate to get into a vet versus having no knowledge?
4.I really like the fact i can take this course at my own pace etc so let me know some thoughts/ideas on this/
THANKS
 

LivestockDoc

I speak 4 the cows!
10+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2008
691
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1.have any of you done any online courses to be an assistant?
2.do you really need to take classes to be an assistant?
3.would it be better to have this course and certificate to get into a vet versus having no knowledge?
1. No
2. No
3. I doubt it. Just apply at vet hospitals. Better yet, while you're still nannying, volunteer at a hospital. That'll help land you a job faster than classwork, I'd wager.
Bear in mind, a vet assistant position (not a tech position), will probably pay less than nannying.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
i currently only make about ten bucks an hr.Its not really about making a ton of money.I just want a better more secure position with a certificate and more knowledge in the pet field.I figure that when all is said and done,if it doesnt work out,i wont be in the hole thousands of dollars(course if very affordable) and at least i will have better knowledge in the pet field.
 

katryn

UTCVM c/o 2014!!!!
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2009
1,174
373
Knoxville, TN
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If you're just getting a job as a vet assistant to have a job, I wouldn't bother with the course. I have honestly never met someone who took courses for assistant work(vs. just getting on the job training). If you are actually interested in the pet care PROFESSION, you may want to seriously investigate veterinary technician. The program for vet tech is probably more expensive than what you're looking for, but, depending on your area, it will have better returns in terms of a longer/more stable job position, and better pay.

The true answer to your question probably depends greatly on where you come from. Here in Tennessee, there is no required training for vet assistants, and no requirement for vet tech's to be licensed. Most vets avoid hiring licensed techs because they can pay an unlicensed person less money to do the same job. And taking a vet assistant course means absolutely nothing extra to people around here.

The vet world is a notorious catch 22, you need experience to get hired, but have to get hired somewhere first to get experience. I honestly don't know that a course would gain you anything in this department. Again depending on your area, it may help, or it could mean absolutely nothing.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
I would like to get into the pet field as a profession,not just a job.I live in WA state.My problem is that i dont have any previous college courses which is required to study for vet tech position(at least here).I will be out of my current job in the next yr-yr and half so my thinking is that if i do this course to be an assistant,i will be able to get my foot in the door in the next yr or so and then if i decide to further my studies,i will at least be in the door.My plan is to also do some volunteer work at a vet or shelter while im studying.I just want something to fall back on when the time comes im done with job so i was gonna use this time to study.Thanks again for all your responses,truly appreciated
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
iam 30yrs old.i dont have any college courses.If i wanted to be a tech,through an online program,i would first need to take certain college classes first,right?the apply for vet tech school? iam in washington state.iam wanting to do the assistant program because NO previous college courses are needed.By the time i take those college courses and then the tech program i will be like almost 40yrs old!
 

Psorophoraferox

LSU SVM c/o 2017
7+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2010
311
46
Down Here in Texas
Status
Veterinarian
I wouldn't bother with taking assistant classes. The best route to getting a job as an assistant is to just apply. As you mentioned, it will help your application/resume if you have previous animal experience, so in the meantime look into volunteering at shelters, rescues, zoos, and of course hospitals. If the hospitals you like aren't hiring specifically for vet assistants, see if you can apply as a kennel assistant or receptionist with the possibility of learning vet assistant-ing once you've demonstrated your responsibility and non-aversion to gross stuff (which is probably not an issue after working as a nanny!)

I'm not saying that assistant classes are a BAD idea, I just question how beneficial they would be to you vs. on the job training.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
this is what the online program for vet assisting will consist of:
1. learning strategies,introduction to animal care
2.behavior,handling and restraint
3.veterinary terminology,skeletal and muscular systems,integumentary,circulatory and respiritory system
4.digestive reproductive and urinary systems,nervous sensory and endocrine system
5.nutrition,genetics,reproduction,aging,avain and reptile anatomy.history and physical examination
6.pathology,immunology,emergency care,wound care and management
7.clinical parasitology,small and large animal nursing,veterinary pharmacology
8.radiology,aseptic techniques,surgical and anesthetic preperation
9.accounting etc

*To me this all sounds great and like i could really benefit from this knowledge.All the books,dvds etc are included in the cost of this course
 

NStarz

Ohio State c/o 2016
7+ Year Member
Sep 25, 2009
3,707
896
Ohio
Status
Veterinary Student
OP, that doesn't sound far from a vet tech cert program (though I wouldn't know as I'm not a certified tech).

Is your end goal veterinary school? I don't think you expressed it outright, and it could change a lot of the advice you are going to get.

You do not need to be certified to be a veterinary "assistant." In some places, you do not need to be certified to be a technician, either. In reality, it depends on the state and the individual hospitals as to the difference between the two (for example, at the clinic I shadow at, we are all called techs, but technically only the certified people are called techs when reporting to the state, everyone else is an assistant. Most of the jobs performed by the certified techs can be performed by an assistant who has had a lot of experience and has been there a long time).

Vet assistant programs aren't worth it, IMO. You can get hired mostly anywhere without one (why would you want to spend a lot of money when you can learn everything you need to on the job?). Vet tech school is different, especially if your goals do not include veterinary school.
 

Jamr0ckin

UTK c/o 2016
5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2010
2,520
413
East TN
Status
Veterinarian
Just my thoughts...

If you know nothing about the veterinary field, like common diseases and medical/veterinary terms, it would behoove you to learn these things. As someone who was in charge of hiring new employees, I required a quiz that included basic animal questions like what is FIV, etc. If the person couldn't answer the questions correctly, they were not asked back for an interview.

My best friend did the vet tech online program, and learned SO much. I think if you want the knowledge, go for it. No, you don't need it to work at an animal hospital, but if this is a career move then it could open up many more doors. She did the San Juan program, and my other best friend went to tech school at a physical location. The online program taught more than the on-site program. I think employers would be more likely to hire someone with no experience that is at least attempting to get an education about the career field they are entering, as I found true with my friend who did the San Juan program.

It sounds like you are a person who wants the education, so I say go for it. It is worth the money to get the letters after your name, in my opinion. Go all the way, get licensed as a veterinary technician, not a veterinary assistant.

http://www.sanjuancollege.edu/vettech
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
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NC
Status
Veterinarian
If you are going to pay to go to school, find a way to go to a vet tech program. Go to an accredited program only. Penn Foster DOES have an AVMA accredited vet tech program. It is an associate's degree. I do know folks who have completed this program and vets that think it is a good option. Now, having said that, with any program you consider attending, google the name of the program and complaint, and see what you find. That might give you a heads up. Also, every person I know who used Penn Foster were employed by vets.

In vet med, there are several levels of staff in clinics. Vets are the folks with ~8 years post secondary education. Vet techs are those who generally have ~2 years post secondary education (or equivalent experience) that have completed licensing exams. Vet assistants are generally individuals who have not pursued post secondary education related directly to vet medicine.

I understand the attitude that this could only help, but the reality is that many vets/clinics prefer to train their own staff, rather than have staff come in with pre-concieved notions of vet med. As the saying goes 'untraining bad habits is harder than starting from the beginning.'

Here are some sites to do research at if you are interested in pursueing education in veterinary support work:

http://www.navta.net/

http://www.avma.org/education/cvea/vettech_programs/vettech_programs.asp

good luck.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
wow im more confused than ever!! I just simply thought i would have fun taking this online course and get my foot in the door at a vet before i loose this job im at.Now im hearing i shouldnt take the course and just go apply at vets.I feel like i should have the knowledge though from the course.Im not financially able to do all that is required to be a tech.Thats why i thought this program to be an assistant would be perfect.Now im just confused:(
 

twelvetigers

stabby cat
10+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2008
18,578
10,032
TTown
Status
Veterinarian
Well, what we're saying is (I think):

If you want to have a new career that is stable and pays as well as your old job (or better) then you would do well to take out loans or whatever and go to schools to become a registered or licensed veterinary technician.

If you only want to be an assistant, we think you should shadow or volunteer a bit now (while you still have the old job) and then just apply at a clinic once you're ready. The shadowing experience will help you get your foot in the door. No course necessary, just learn as you go - that's how most of us have done it (probably 95% of the members here work or have worked at a vet clinic, including myself).

If you really REALLY want to take the online assistant course (and pay for it, whatever it costs) then go ahead, but it's probably not going to be THAT much of a help. A lot of what an assistant does is clinic specific, and a lot of it is hands-on. You won't be able to learn a lot of the things online. Also, I'm not sure how much more competitive an online course would make you - shadowing will do you much more good.

I hope this helps clarify things. Remember, it's your decision - you only asked what we thought.
 

MonkeyPoo

Awesome Member
Oct 31, 2010
13
0
Paradise!
Status
Veterinary Student
In my opinion, you should try and see if you can get a job doing the assisting or even receptionist thing first. this will let you know if you can handle it. Can you handle blood and guts? Animals being put down? These are things you must encounter both as an assistant and as a tech. That way you don't get $1000 into it and realize this isn't for you. You don't need anything but the right attitude to start out. It all comes with time, the best type of training isn't online anyway.
Good luck.
 

MonkeyPoo

Awesome Member
Oct 31, 2010
13
0
Paradise!
Status
Veterinary Student
iam 30yrs old.i dont have any college courses.If i wanted to be a tech,through an online program,i would first need to take certain college classes first,right?the apply for vet tech school? iam in washington state.iam wanting to do the assistant program because NO previous college courses are needed.By the time i take those college courses and then the tech program i will be like almost 40yrs old!
My mom got her masters in art education at 52. And now teaches elementary art, you are NEVER too old! Chin up, keep going, you can do whatever you want to do!
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
Ok i have realized that i DONT need any courses to be an assistant or even to get work in a vet office etc.As weird as this sounds,i WANT to take this course.I feel like i need to be doing something "constructive" in my life.I dont have the finances/ability etc etc to go to school and then get a vet tech degree so this assistant course would fit my lifestyle perfect.thanks again for all the help/info/tips etc etc. I will keep ya posted with what i decide to do.Iam waiting for my current vet(the technician) to email some of her thoughts on this and what our state requires.
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
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Apr 5, 2008
3,331
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BTW- to do a tech course, you do NOT have to have previous college courses (at least not in any program I have seen) and many will NOT accept course credits from programs outside of their own. I thought I might be able to enroll in a tech program to get some hands on experience and was told that my 400 level biochem, along with multiple years of chemistry and biology would not subsititute in for their 100 level general science course (which was described as a combination of biology, chemistry, biochem.)

I think what we are telling you is that face time shadowing at a vet will be a better way to learn, cost less, and is far more likely to get you hired. What you can learn via an online course you could also learn from a book on basic vet assisting that you order from Amazon. Save the $698 from the vet assist program to use towards the vet tech program ($1,170.)

Even if you are absolutly certain you need book education before experience I would encourage you to spend time shadowing at a vet clinic. Very few people have an accurate view of vet med; plenty of folks start and find they hate it or can't tolerate a particular aspect of it.

Also, being 30 doesn't impact this very much...I'm in my thirties and pursueing my DVM. I have 2.5 years of school left, which severly limits how much work I can do while attending. I'm pretty sure the distance vet tech programs are designed to be completed by working individuals.

I don't think anyone is saying knowledge is a bad thing...I think we are all saying that without the licensing of a vet tech, the certificate from the vet assistant program carries little or no weight, and may actually be a disadvantage. For example, even in vet school there are heated debates about appropriate aseptic technique (one of the things you said this program is suppose to teach you.) What if you learn that you do A, B, and C as part of aseptic technique and you go to work for a vet who prefers M, N, and O? You will still not know what your doing when you start, you will still have to be trained, and you may have to be untrained. I use that as an example because I have actually seen that one happen at multiple clinics.

Edit - I don't think anyone is saying 'don't do anything constructive with your life.' I think there may be some feeling that if you do this course, then find out that to really enjoy any real benefit from a structured education experience, you may regret having paid out over half the costs of a vet tech program without the benefits. some vet clinics assist techs in funding for obtaining RVT/LVT. If your attitude towards this is 'this sounds like fun....I am ok with my fun costing X' then no worries. Before vet school, I spent a reasonable amount of money taking courses and seminars just because I love learning. If they benefited me, great, but if not I was ok with that. I think that is the concern being expressed because you said you want a more secure position and want to enter the field as a profession...and the general thought is this won't really help with that. of course, it is just our opinions, YMMV.
 
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OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
the online vet tech program through penn foster said i needed previous college class(maybe chemistry? etc) so im just assuming to start a vet tech program,i would first have to go back to school for those chemistry,math etc classes.
Can i do a tech program online?(that is so much more convienent for me) or does it have to be through attending classes?Maybe if i do the program online i can start in a vet as receptionist etc and get hands on learning there while studying online?
The payment plans for these online schools(penn foster at least) is really affordable and much easier than having to apply for student loans etc and then attend a college.
Can anyone recommened an online tech program?
I will do some research on this and think about just doing the tech program if i can find one online that doesnt require previous college courses.Im in wa state if that helps.Thanks again for all your help.I dont where else to turn to besides sitting down and calling all these vets and schools LOL
 

Jamr0ckin

UTK c/o 2016
5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2010
2,520
413
East TN
Status
Veterinarian
I, again, recommend San Juan. I gave the link a few posts above.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
UPDATE: i actually called penn foster to speak with someone about the vet tech program.I DONT need any prior college courses(i just have to take the basic skills assesment test of math and reading) before starting the program.
This school is accredited by the AVMA.
I would recieve an associates of science degree.
All the books etc are included in the price.
I have decided to do the tech program versus the assistant program which would just get me a certificate.
Next question: i need to find out if WA state requires a state license to be a vet tech or if my associates degree is enough to get me in as a vet tech.
I have 12months to complete each semester(there are 4 semesters i believe).
Once i start this program,i could probably get into a vet doing "something" while i continue my schooling? I plan to work at my current job as long a poss which is probably 1.5 to 2yrs so by then i should be pretty much on my way to being a tech.
How does all this sound? It is an online course but after the first and second semester i have to have so many hours of hands on experience in a vet or clinic either volunteer or paid.
Let me know your thoughts. again thank u so much for all the advice!
 

EllieGirl89

Ohio State CVM c/o 2015!
Sep 1, 2010
1,275
8
Columbus, OH
www.facebook.com
Status
Veterinary Student
Once you finish the schooling, you won't be considered an RVT (or CVT) until you've taken your state's exam. And yes, you can probably find work doing "something" in a vet's office while you're in school. My best friend is a tech and she worked at the clinic in the back in the kennel while she was in school and is now up front working as a tech.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
yes, i read that i have to wait 6months after i graduate to take the state exam test to be licensed.What does this test consist of?im kinda scared LOL ive been out of high school for ten years and im really excited about learning and studying to be a tech but kinda nervous!
If it takes 12months for each semester that equals 4yrs.Does that sound about right? i thought it might be closer to 2yrs but oh well
 

168135

Guest
10+ Year Member
Sep 20, 2007
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Too bad I couldn't be of much help, not knowing what becoming a vet tech involves in the states, but congrats! You seem excited!

I was super close to taking a vet tech program out of highschool. The program I was interested in was very tedious and very hands on. I'm still debating whether to apply to the program or not if vet school doesn't pan out.

I'd start volunteering now so you can see what the working environment is and what techs are responsible for. Don't be afraid to ask them questions about their jobs and ask them why they've chosen this path.

Good luck :luck:
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
so may i ask why u didnt do the vet tech school? whats the diff between that and a vet school? are u studying to be a vet then?
 

Jamr0ckin

UTK c/o 2016
5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2010
2,520
413
East TN
Status
Veterinarian
so may i ask why u didnt do the vet tech school? whats the diff between that and a vet school? are u studying to be a vet then?
I want to be a veterinarian. Vets do 3 main things that techs and assistants can't do: Diagnose, Prescribe, and perform surgery.

I think vet techs are just as important as the veterinarians, as they often interact with the patient and clients more than the doctor does. So I think it is a good, noble career path that is open for advancement - you can specialize in different aspects of vet med as a licensed tech.

It is personal preferance what people's goals are, but 99.9% of people on this forum are going for the ultimate - DVM.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
ya i think the tech job would be better for me. I dont think i wanna go all the way and diagnose and perform surgery etc etc but would love to help and assist.My previous dog had alot of issues so we spent alot of time at the vet and i kinda got the feel of what tech do vs the dr. I actually has our techs email adress so i can ask her stuff too :)
 

168135

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Sep 20, 2007
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My situation may be a little bit different than everyone elses, being Canadian.

A big factor for me was the money. The average salary for techs is minimum wage to $14/hr with no opportunity to advance.

I was very naive about the field of veterinary medicine. I did not want to be a vet because I thought that diagnosing and performing surgery was scary! I researched the responsibilites of a vet tech: prepping for surgery, assisting with surgery, dentals, placing catheters, intubating, monitoring patients after surgery, restraining patients, taking patient histories, cleaning, etc. and decided that I wouldn't mind doing that. A friend then encouraged me to begin volunteering at a clinic.

Before I began volunteering at a clinic, I volunteered at a shelter. I got to see what the shelter techs do on a day to day basis. I talked to the techs about their job. Their job is very rewarding, but seeing animals and tough shape and making next to nothing had taken its toll on them.

Then I began volunteering at the clinic. I got to see techs at work and vets at work. The techs have a very hands-on roll in the clinic and seem to keep it running smoothly. I also saw the vets at work. I started job-shadowing them and watching surgeries. I realized that surgeries were not as bad as I thought they were.. and they were actually kind of cool! I also got to see what went on in the exam room... you have this little creature in pain and you have to try to figure out what the problem is and what the best way to go about fixing it is.

I was very very undecided. I talked to friends, family, vets, and techs. They all encouraged me to try to get into to vet school first, then think about becoming a tech if that didn't pan out.

I had to do testing and an interview for the vet tech program because it was very competative. I got a tour of the teaching clinic, which was AWESOME, and I got accepted. It was very hard for me to decline. I knew I would have enjoyed the program and I would have been happy with my job, even though the pay would be kind of low.

Now I'm in debt up to my ears. I feel like I'm too far in debt to shell out $20 000 for tech school and come out only making ~$12 an hour. Expensive, eh? Graduates of this program have no problem finding jobs because it is so hands on.

I should mention that techs just don't work in clinics... they can work with small animals, large animals, work at zoos, shelters, work with pharmacutical companies, etc, at least here that is!

Bottom line... volunteer! Ask questions! It's very hands-on, fast-paced, rewarding, and so darn cool!

I know I rambled on there for a little bit, but I hope it helps!
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
scarcely- so what is your job title now? iam hearing that "vet school" is thousands of dollars but this online program is way cheaper.I will try and get into some clinics or something as well.
Is anyone on here doing online courses or are you all actually in school?
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
i found another msg board and the 2 main online schools they talked about were penn foster(which alot of peeps had neg things to say) and san juan(which seemed everyone liked).My concerns are that SJ u have to have so many hrs a week in a vet etc for the WHOLE time u are taking their course(seems hard with the economy here) versus at PF its just after 2nd and 4th semester u need so many hrs(seems more practical to me).SJ did it seemed have shorter lessons to have to learn b4 taking the test versus at PF it was like 6months of studying b4 taking the test for that semester.Also,how do i go about checking the "pass rate" for these schools.everyone seemed to say PF have a low pass rate(not sure if they mean passing the course at PF or the state exam).Please help me decide!!!! I could start PF now but cant sign up til march for San juan
 

sumstorm

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2008
3,331
16
NC
Status
Veterinarian
My concerns are that SJ u have to have so many hrs a week in a vet etc for the WHOLE time u are taking their course(seems hard with the economy here) versus at PF its just after 2nd and 4th semester u need so many hrs(seems more practical to me).

Also,how do i go about checking the "pass rate" for these schools.everyone seemed to say PF have a low pass rate(not sure if they mean passing the course at PF or the state exam).Please help me decide!!!! I could start PF now but cant sign up til march for San juan
Honestly, you would be better off working with a vet. Why? because a heck of a lot of things you need to learn are actual skills. Are there any vets in your area? how about going in and seeing if any of them would work with you, even if it is shadowing.

I have no idea how to check pass rates.
 
OP
A
Nov 18, 2010
19
0
Status
Non-Student
if i graduate penn foster, i would receive an associates of science degree.Whats the diff between that and applied science degree.
Is that all i need and then once i graduate and take state test to be licensed? theres so many diff degrees out there.I just want to be a licensed vet tech
 

Zany Tiger

Shmooo
Nov 26, 2010
44
0
Arizona
Status
Pre-Veterinary
if i graduate penn foster, i would receive an associates of science degree.Whats the diff between that and applied science degree.
Is that all i need and then once i graduate and take state test to be licensed? theres so many diff degrees out there.I just want to be a licensed vet tech
Hello I'm currently in a vet tech program at my local college. I'm 33 and I can tell you from what I've experienced so far it is wonderful. Hands on anatomy labs, field trips, and preperation for our state and national exams are all part of the fun. My program is currently two years, two summer internships, and will end up being about about $4k with an associates of applies science. I also need only one more course to get my associates of science to transfer to the university to knock out my pre-vet classes, I so wanna be a vet :D. From what I've learned an AAS is entended to get you into a job quickly and is usually not trasferable, while a AS will move you towards a four year degree program. I know I will need my assoc of science to trasfer to a university for my pre-vet classes, I cannot transfer with an applied science degree. lol I'm still in the "how can I make this work" mode of the process. But I know this is what I wanna do and nothing will stop me even if it means I'll be in my forties by the time I'm done :p. Good luck to you and you'll love it.
 

PendantWorld

Cornell CVM c/o 2015
Dec 1, 2010
111
0
New York
Status
Veterinary Student
At the clinic where I work (as an assistant), there are a couple assistants who are currently in school to get their tech degree. It's hard to get an assistant job if you don't have previous exposure to the veterinary field, but tech programs have good relationships with local clinics and might help give you an "in". Also, techs get paid more than assistants (but still not as much as they deserve).

My advice: find a cheap program that is accredited. There's a private school near where I am that charges over $15,000/year for their vet tech program. You don't need to go to an expensive school if there's a program just as good for a fraction of the cost at a different school. (Also, if you eventually want to become a veterinarian, you don't need to be building up debt that quickly!)