Reader Question: Applying to Tech School

May I ask how it is that you started your application process? I am seriously considering a career as a vet technician and am looking for any advice I can get. Have you heard of distance learning programs like Penn Foster or Cedar Valley? Did you work at the kennel before you decided to become a technician? I really appreciate any advice I can get, when you have time, of course. Thanks!

I just called or e-mailed the school and set up an appointment with the admissions office.  Once I was there, I asked all my questions (I forget what all they were now) and decided to apply.  Filling out the paperwork and taking the entrance tests took some time, but nothing was difficult.  I was able to talk to admissions, take my entrance exams, and talk to financial aid all in the same visit.  I started classes two or three weeks later.

I’ve been able to get loans for all my tuition, but if I were to do it again I would ask about scholarships at the school and would work harder at finding outside scholarships (I should still do that!). A few weeks ago, I discovered that my school offers multiple scholarships, but they’re only for students in their first semester (and I am most definitely not in my first semester).

I’ve heard of the distance learning programs, but don’t know much about them.  There are at least a couple that are accredited by the AVMA.  You’ll want to make sure any program you’re interested in in accredited.  When Weatherman and I were looking at moving out-of-state a while back, I spent a bit of time looking in to distance education programs.  I believe you needed access to a vet clinic so you could practice your new-found knowledge.  I seem to recall there were also some video requirements.  I believe you were required to get video of yourself performing certain tasks and send those videos to your instructor.

I did work at the kennel before I decided to become a tech, but working at the kennel really did not factor in to my decision to go to tech school.  I’ve always planned to have a career in veterinary medicine – I just didn’t take the route I had originally planned.  In high school, I spent a lot of time volunteering and job shadowing in many different vet clinics.  Volunteering any place with animals, but especially clinics, is a great way to get experience and to see what you’ll really be doing with your tech degree.  Some clinics take volunteers and allow jobs shadows, others may not.  Animal shelters, veterinary schools, wildlife centers, and zoos are also good places to get some animal experience.  Some may have strict guidelines and application procedures you must follow and complete before you can volunteer.  At other places, all you need to do is call and say, ‘I want to volunteer” and they’ll get you started out right away.

Does that answer your questions sufficiently?  Please let me know if you have any other questions – I love telling others about this field!

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