Since it was first admitted into the union in 1867, Nebraska has been a state with sweeping plains and a strong connection to its agricultural beginnings. Along with agriculture comes a reliance and interdependence on animals, which makes for an atmosphere ripe for employment as a veterinary technician, or vet techs. Vet techs in Nebraska may work in a more traditional small animal clinic where they see cats and dogs, or they may find work in a more agricultural community where they treat animals like cows, horses, and goats.
Whichever path a new veterinary technician takes, a strong educational background is essential. There are currently two schools operating in Nebraska that have been accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA). Attending an accredited program is required to become a practicing vet tech in the state of Nebraska. More information on these programs is available below.
Now is an ideal time to study to become a vet tech in Nebraska or any state, since the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts extraordinary growth across the country. In fact, from 2014 to 2024, the demand for vet techs is expected to grow by a whopping 19%, which is much faster than the predicted growth rate for all jobs on average (BLS, 2014). If working with animals in a challenging and growing career is something that you could be passionate about, it may be the right time to start researching the different educational paths that could lead to a fulfilling career as a licensed vet tech in Nebraska.
Map of Vet Tech Schools in Nebraska
|Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited||Grads|
|Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture||404 East 7th, Curtis, Nebraska, 69025-9552||No||Yes||42|
|Northeast Community College||801 E Benjamin, Norfolk, Nebraska, 68702-0469||No||Yes||18|
How to Become a Vet Tech in Nebraska
Compared to becoming a veterinarian, the vet tech career has much more manageable educational requirements. According to ONet Online, 68% of working veterinary technicians have an associate’s degree while 12% have only a high school diploma or GED. In Nebraska, there are minimum requirements to become a vet tech, but overall the path is straightforward and achievable.
Step 1: Graduate from High School – Duration: 4 Years – A high school diploma or GED is essential to gaining entrance to a vet tech program. High school students who want to become vet techs in the future should be sure to pay attention and excel in science courses such as biology and chemistry. It may also be a good idea to seek out opportunities volunteering at local veterinary clinics or animal shelters to gain useful experience in the field during this time.
Step 2: Complete an Accredited Vet Tech Program – Duration: 2 Years – Veterinary technician programs typically require 2 years of courses and hands-on training. After two years, graduates of the program will earn an Associate’s degree. It is important for aspiring vet techs to find a program that has been accredited by the AVMA, because that is how they will become eligible to take the VTNE and to eventually find employment.
Step 3: Take the VTNE – The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is a prerequisite for vet techs practicing in Nebraska. Graduates of accredited programs are eligible to sit for the exam, which is offered annually in the state capital of Lincoln. Applicants must register for the exam through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). Those that do not take the exam in Nebraska must have their scores sent to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services. Those that sit for the exam in Lincoln will have their scores automatically reported.
Step 4: Apply for Certification in Nebraska – Veterinary technician certification is different from state to state. In Nebraska, vet techs must complete an application and send it along with their VTNE scores (where necessary), proof of graduation from an AVMA accredited vet tech program, a $100 application fee, and a photocopy of documentation that proves the applicant’s age (such as a driver’s license or birth certificate) to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services.
Step 5: Complete Continuing Education Requirements – In order to maintain certification as a veterinary technician in Nebraska, vet techs must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years and submit proof to the Department of Health & Human Services.
Strong Demand for Vet Techs in Nebraska
For anyone who is considering a career as a veterinary technician, knowing how easy or difficult it will be to find employment is important. According to the BLS, Nebraska currently employs 510 vet techs (BLS, 2015). These technicians may work in private veterinary clinics, research laboratories, animal shelters, government offices, or other professional settings. As mentioned above, the demand for vet techs is expected to grow by 19% from 2014 to 2024. According to CareerOneStop, which is a government site that sources its data from the BLS, in Nebraska, however, the profession is actually supposed to grow by 29% over that same time frame. This growth represents an additional 20 job openings each year.
Jobs for vet techs in Nebraska are fairly well distributed over the 77,421 square miles that make up Nebraska. While there are expectedly a few more jobs in the state’s biggest cities, there are also jobs in more rural areas, as you can see from the accounting below:
- Lincoln: 100
- Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA: 160
- Northwest Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: 30
- Central Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: 140
- Northeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: 50
In addition to the number of jobs, the region in the state where a vet tech finds work can also have an impact on what types of salaries they will find. Following is a breakdown of the average annual salaries in different areas of Nebraska:
- Lincoln: $31,590
- Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA: $33,040
- Northwest Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: $26,130
- Central Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: $22,860
- Northeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: $30,890
As a comparison, the mean annual salary for vet techs in the U.S. is $33,280, which means that Lincoln is the only place in Nebraska where the local average outpaces the country overall.
Averaging salaries across the state, median pay for vet techs is lower than it is for all state in the U.S. The Nebraska salaries are as follows:
- 10th percentile: $21,080
- 50th percentile: $29,420
- 90th percentile: $39,080
In the U.S., vet tech salaries are as follows:
- 10th percentile: $21,890
- 50th percentile: $31,800
- 90th percentile: $47,410
It is important for new veterinary technicians as well as seasoned professionals to connect with others who do the same job as them. National groups like the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) and local organizations like the Nebraska Veterinary Technician Association (NVTA) offer a chance for vet techs to connect. Both sites are useful for finding educational opportunities, jobs openings, and networking events for veterinary technicians.
|Veterinary Career||Nebraska Jobs||Salary Data (BLS, 2014)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
Finding Quality Vet Tech Schools in Nebraska
Nebraska has two schools with vet tech programs that have American Veterinary Medical Association accreditation. This accreditation ensures that schools are able to provide students with all of the training and experience they need to be able to start working in the field. In addition, accreditation is required for vet techs to become certified in the Cornhusker state.
Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, in Curtis, has had full AVMA accreditation since 1973. It offers an associate of applied science degree and teaches students about care for many different types of animals, including exotic animals. The school has a facility that features x-ray bays, a surgical theater, labs, a kennel, a barn, exotic animal housing, and more. Many of the students at the school join the Safari Club, which takes them to wildlife refuges, zoos, and other areas.
Northeast Community College, in Norfolk, has had full AVMA accreditation since 1997. It offers an associate of applied science degree and classroom study as well as clinical and lab study. Students learn many skills and techniques needed to work as a vet tech, preparing graduates for entry level positions.
Students who are interested in a more flexible option may want to consider online learning options. With programs such as those offered by Penn Foster, students can earn a degree from an accredited program without being physically present in a classroom. This can be a good option for those that want to continue working during school, or who have family obligations that keep them at home.
Accreditation and Certification for Vet Techs in Nebraska
In the state of Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services takes care of the licensing and regulation of veterinary technicians. In order to become a licensed veterinary technician, applicants need to have earned a two-year degree from an AVMA-accredited school and must take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam. After passing the test, they can submit their application to the department. All vet tech licenses in Nebraska expire on April 1 of even-numbered years. When renewing, vet techs must also include proof of at least 16 hours of continuing education. The vet techs need to make sure that the CE they choose is approved by the department.
Students need to choose vet tech schools in Nebraska that have AVMA accreditation. The accreditation process is intensive, and not all programs will achieve accredited status. The AVMA accreditation committee looks at many different areas of a school or program before offering accreditation, including:
- Informational resources
- Physical facilities
Going to schools that have accredited status should give peace of mind to students. Accreditation indicates that the school has been thoroughly evaluated and that a degree from the chosen program will make graduate eligible for the VTNE and subsequent certification.
|Vet Techs Must Be Licensed to Practice||Licensed Vet Techs Are Called||Licensing Requirements||Additional Resources|
|Graduate from an AVMA-Accredited Program||Pass the VTNE||Additional Requirements|
|Yes||LVT||No||Yes||Candidates are also required to submit a notarized statement of moral character.||Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association|