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. 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 (May 2017) predicts extraordinary growth across the country. In fact, from 2016 to 2026, the demand for vet techs is expected to grow by a whopping 20%, which is much faster than the predicted growth rate for all jobs on average (7%). 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.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture||404 East 7th, Curtis, Nebraska, 69025-9552||No||Yes|
|Northeast Community College||801 E Benjamin, Norfolk, Nebraska, 68702-0469||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Nebraska
Nebraska has two schools with vet tech programs that have been accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the accrediting body of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). 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 (AAS) degree that takes a recommended 3 years to complete. The program teaches students how to care for many different types of animals including llamas, cattle, cats, dogs, and 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. Students complete an internship and work at research facilities in the area. They are also required to take an exit exam once they complete the 76 required credit hours, minus the internship, to graduate, and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Courses include facility management; fur and feather; animal care; medical terminology; hematology; nursing; radiology; livestock nutrition; and more. NCTA also offers a veterinary assisstant option, animal husbandry option, animal health management option, and equine health care option. In addition, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, students may pursue a bachelor’s degree and should inform their advisor of the intent to do so when they begin the AAS program. The three year, first-time pass rate on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) was 88% through Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, between 2014 and 2017.
Northeast Community College, in Norfolk, has had full AVMA accreditation since 1997. It offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology through 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. Courses include animal husbandry and restraint; anatomy and physiology of domestic animals; laboratory techniques; radiology and ultrasonography; clinical nursing of companion animals; veterinary office practices; and more. Students also complete general education requirements, an internship, and a review course for the VTNE. The three year, first-time pass rate on the VTNE for graduates of the Northeast Community College veterinary technology program was 60.8% between 2014 and 2017.
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 College, students can earn a degree from a CVTEA-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. For more information, visit our online veterinary technician schools page.
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 Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Nebraska currently employs 800 vet techs (BLS, 2017). 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 20% from 2016 to 2026. According to CareerOneStop, which is a government site that sources its data from the BLS, the profession in Nebraska expects to grow by 29% between 2014 and 2024.
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: 120
- Central Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: 200
- Northeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: 40
In addition to the number of jobs, the region in the state where vet techs find 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 (BLS, May 2017): Boise City boasted the highest employment in the profession and the highest average annual salary figure for vet techs in the state. Here are the vet tech salaries among the six BLS regions in ID:
Central Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: $27,540 annual average salary
- 10th percentile: $20,260
- 25th percentile: $21,760
- 50th percentile (median): $24,260
- 75th percentile: $28,530
- 90th percentile: $39,430
Lincoln, NE: $35,020 avg.
- 10th percentile: $27,140
- 25th percentile: $32,000
- 50th percentile (median): $35,300
- 75th percentile: $38,550
- 90th percentile: $41,050
Omaha–Council Bluffs, NE-IA: $34,230 avg.
- 10th percentile: $27,450
- 25th percentile: $31,320
- 50th percentile (median): $34,650
- 75th percentile: $37,830
- 90th percentile: $39,840
Northeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area: $32,390 avg.
- 10th percentile: $25,150
- 25th percentile: $27,490
- 50th percentile (median): $31,000
- 75th percentile: $36,200
- 90th percentile: $39,490
As a comparison, the mean annual salary for vet techs in the U.S. is $34,710 (BLS, 2017), which means that Lincoln is the only place in Nebraska where the local average outpaces the country overall. Vet techs looking for employment in Nebraska should consider that NE is the 18th least expensive state in the nation in which to live, with particular savings in utilities and transportation (Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, 2018).
Averaging salaries across the state, median pay for vet techs is lower than it is for all states in the U.S. The Nebraska salaries are as follows:
- 10th percentile: $22,700
- 25th percentile: $26,890
- 50th percentile: $32,440
- 75th percentile: $36,960
- 90th percentile: $39,730
In the U.S., vet tech salaries are as follows:
- 10th percentile: $22,880
- 25th percentile: $27,430
- 50th percentile: $33,400
- 75th percentile: $39,860
- 90th percentile: $49,350
It is important for new veterinary technicians as well as seasoned professionals to connect with others who do the same job. 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, 2017)|
|Low Salary (10th %ile)||Average Salary (Median)||High Salary (90th %ile)|
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|